135 Great Surgery Center Administrators to Know

Here are profiles of 135 ambulatory surgery administrators who work tirelessly to promote quality outcomes, patient satisfaction, financial profitability and team cohesion at their centers.

Margaret Acker, RN, MSN, CASC (Southwest Surgical Center in Grand Rapids, Mich.). Ms. Acker is the administrator of Southwest Surgical Center, a multi-specialty freestanding ASC. She was formerly CEO with Blake Woods Medical Park Surgical Center in Jackson, Mich., a multi-specialty, physician-owned center. She has worked in the ASC industry for over a decade as a consultant, administrator and presenter. Ms. Acker holds a master's degree in nursing from Eastern Michigan University and serves on the "approver committee" for the American Society of Ophthalmic Registered Nurses continuing education. She also serves on the board of directors for St. Luke's Clinic, providing healthcare for the poor and medically underserved.

Kathleen Allman, CASC (Millennium Surgery Center in Bakersfield, Calif.). Ms. Allman is the administrator of Millennium Surgery Center. She started her career as a staff nurse for Loma Linda University (Calif.) Medical Center and arrived in Bakersfield with the intention of opening a new OR suite in the newly-constructed Mercy Southwest Hospital. The experience of becoming chief administrative officer at Bakersfield Surgery Center (owned by National Surgery Centers) "hooked her on the outpatient setting," says Vince Phillips, a shareholder of Millennium Surgery Center. When NSC was purchased by Health South, the opportunity arose to develop a new center from the ground up. The project — now Millennium Surgery Center — was Ms. Allman's baby from the beginning. The center currently performs over 8,000 cases per year and prides itself on fair contracts that "do not gouge payors," Mr. Phillips says. "We have been profitable since the first quarter we opened our doors," he says. He says Ms. Allman's attainment of her CASC credential and her upcoming completion of her master's in health administration "mirror her insistence on professional development of herself, her employees and the center, which has been accredited for years."

Kim Andry, CASC (Great Lakes Surgical Center in Southfield, Mich.).
Ms. Andry, the administrator at Great Lakes Surgical Center, oversees all business operations and serves as business manager and administrator of her physician-owned facility. Even without the benefit of corporate or hospital assistance, Ms. Andry has helped make GLSC one of the most profitable ASCs in the Midwest. She has grown net income each year for the last three years, despite essentially stable revenue. According to Keith Metz, MD, medical director of Great Lakes Surgical Center, Ms. Andry is "responsive and professional with surgeons, assertive and understanding with staff, and exceptional in those rare instances of a difficult or angry patient." Ms. Andry recently coordinated a AAAHC accreditation evaluation that resulted in a three-year accreditation. She subsequently achieved AAAHC surveyor certification. In addition to her outstanding work with ASC operations, Ms. Andry has made the ASC experience "as pleasant as possible" for the more than 3,000 children that receive care at the center each year by adding children's movies, in-house slushy desserts and take-home gifts, according to Dr. Metz.

Brent Ashby, CASC (Audubon Surgery Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.). Mr. Ashby is the administrator of three surgery centers — Audubon Surgery Center, Audubon ASC at St. Francis and Women's Surgical Center, all located in Colorado Springs, Colo. The two Audubon centers contain 15 ORs and four procedure rooms between them and perform an estimated 19,000 cases annually. Mr. Ashby has led the surgery centers through several successful initiatives, including the implementation of an IT system, the creation of a staff profit-sharing program and a boycott of payors who are unwilling to offer reasonable payment rates. He said the physicians in his centers are highly involved and offer their support during difficult administrative decisions. Mr. Ashby has been with Audubon Surgery Center since it opened in 1999; the other two centers opened in 2008. Before opening Audubon, he was the administrator of the Provo (Utah) Surgical Center for seven years and practiced law at a large firm in Phoenix.

Cathy Atwater (Banner Health-Union Hills Surgery Center and Banner Thunderbird Surgery Center in Peoria, Ariz.). Ms. Atwater serves as the administrator of Banner Health-Union Hills Surgery Center and Banner Thunderbird Surgery Center, positions she has held since Jan. 2010 and Feb. 2005, respectively. Prior to joining Banner, she worked as a gynecology practice manager at North Valley Obstetrics and a manager of operations at Argent Healthcare/Paralign Revenue Management. According to Angela Surratt, pre-op/PACU clinical manager at Banner Thunderbird, Ms. Atwater is often seen rounding through the pre-op and PACU areas of her surgery center and dedicates significant effort to marketing the center, despite the highly saturated nature of the local area. "She is consistently encouraging her staff, especially myself and the OR clinical manager, to further our management education and is often having us sign up for any classes that Banner offers," says Ms. Surratt. "Through these classes and her direction … she has helped me grow as a leader."

Beverly Baker (Timberlake Surgery Center in Chesterfield, Mo.). Ms. Baker has served as the administrator of the Timberlake Surgery Center since 2008 and has been an administrator in the ASC field for over seven years. Prior to joining Timberlake Surgery Center, she worked as a healthcare consultant specializing in practice operations and an administrator for private physician practices. She was instrumental with the new facility's start-up phase, achieving a three-year accreditation with AAAHC and receiving Symbion's President's Club Award in 2008. She currently serves on the board of Missouri Ambulatory Surgery Center Association.

James Lee Baker Jr. (Scenic View Surgery Center in Alamogordo, N.M.). Mr. Baker, administrator of Scenic View Surgery Center, has over 30 years of experience in surgical environments, including roles as administrator, clinical operations manager and director. During his career, he has managed the construction and startup of four new surgical facilities, achieved state Medicare certificate on those facilities' first inspectors and passed AAAHC inspections with no clinical deficiencies. He also converted a poorly managed surgical department into a properly functioning, well-equipped profit center and was able to convince vacated physicians and surgeons to return to the center. Prior to joining Scenic View Surgery Center, Mr. Baker served as administrator of the freestanding surgery center at Ardent Hospital and Surgery Center in Tulsa, Okla., and administrator of Bartlesville (Okla.) Surgery Center.

Glenda Beasley, RN (Kentucky Surgery Center in Lexington, Ky.). Ms. Beasley is the administrative director of the Kentucky Surgery Center, a multi-specialty surgery center opened in 1986. Ms. Beasley joined the center in 1990 and celebrated her 20-year anniversary with KSC in July 2010. She started at the center as an OR circulator and was promoted to OR/PACU/pre-operative supervisor and then clinical director before becoming the administrative director. She currently oversees 90 employees and an average of 1,000 cases per month. Ms. Beasley attributes much of her success to the people she works with on a daily basis. She takes great pride in her center and has watched it grow from a two-OR center to a seven-OR, three-procedure room center that saw close to 11,000 patients in 2010. Staying abreast of current issues affecting the ASC industry is a constant challenge, but she believes educating oneself, staff and physicians keeps the center on top. Ms. Beasley is certified in BLS, ACLS and PALS and is a member of AORN and the ASC Association.

Linda Beaver, RN, MSN, MHA (Gateway Endoscopy Center in St. Louis, Mo.). Ms. Beaver serves as administrator of Gateway Endoscopy Center, a busy endoscopy facility in western St. Louis County. She started as a her career as a critical care nurse who specialized in cardiovascular recovery before moving into the management sector as a nursing supervisor, nurse manager and clinical director of multiple unit specialties in an acute-care hospital. While at her hospital, she developed and implemented a multidisciplinary "value analysis team" to standardize hospital clinical inventory. Ms. Beaver has been in the outpatient setting for three years and has over 16 years of management experience.

Christine Behm (T Surgery Center in Ventura, Calif.).
Ms. Behm has served as the administrator of T Surgery Center since 2004. During her time with the center, she has negotiated contracts with Blue Cross and Aetna to combat decreased reimbursements due to out-of-network day max penalties, as well as acquired and retained a great team of clinical and administrative staff. The center has also achieved licensure from the state department of health and Medicare certification, and Ms. Behm has worked to update the facility and its equipment to accommodate increased orthopedic volume. Prior to joining T Surgery Center, Ms. Behm served as administrator of Surgery Center of San Buenaventura in Ventura for 13 years, during which time she selected and acquired all instruments and supplies for the new facility and was promoted from clinical administrator to administrator. At her current center, Ms. Behm has developed relationships with new physician partners, resulting in a 50 percent increase in case volume. She has also helped manage accounts receivable from start-up to the center's current $4,172,560 in annual receipts.

Sandy Berreth, RN, MS, CASC (Brainerd Lakes Surgery Center in Baxter, Minn.). Ms. Berreth serves as the administrator of Brainerd Lakes Surgery Center, a multi-specialty ASC that performs approximately 4,500 cases a year. She has been in the ambulatory surgery management arena for 12 years and has worked at her current center since 2004. Ms. Berreth recently completed her AAAHC surveyor training and has obtained her privileges from AAAHC as a participating surveyor. Speaking on her experience in the healthcare, Ms. Berreth says, "As an RN with 33 years of experience in multiple areas in the healthcare arena, I have developed a unique set of values that I believe is essential to succeed in the ambulatory surgery center business arena. I believe the primary goal of any ASC administrator is the commitment to delivering high-quality surgical services to ensure a superior patient experience and clinical outcomes, as well as developing a sound business plan and futuristic goals to achieve financial success for its partners." During Ms. Berreth's tenure, Brainerd Lakes has achieved the 2008-2010 Edgesurvey's APEX Quality Award for overall patient satisfaction. Ms. Berreth holds a master's degree in business organization and management.

Josh Billstein (The Polyclinic in Seattle).
Mr. Billstein spent 10 years as a clinician and practice manager at a busy physician clinic before joining The Polyclinic in June 2010. He currently serves as practice manager for the three-OR, multi-specialty ASC, where he has helped integrate cardiology cases into the center's caseload. He has also helped put the ASC under its expense budget by eight percent for 2010 by utilizing a group purchasing organization and resource management. According to Mr. Billstein, Dec. 2010 was the busiest month in the 22-year history of the ASC. Mr. Billstein says his personal philosophy as an ASC leader is "to recruit and retain exceptional individuals who, when integrated into our center's team, utilize their unique talents to make our center exceptional."

Stephen E. Blake, JD, MBA, CPA (Central Park Surgery Center in Arlington, Texas). Stephen Blake serves as the administrator of Central Park Surgery Center, a 100-percent physician-owned facility accredited by the AAAHC. According to Kathy Kennison, RN, the ASC's nurse manager, the center has achieved better than 99 percent patient satisfaction survey results since its inception in 2006 — due in no small part to Mr. Blake's efforts. "Steve Blake's commitment to ensuring the delivery of the highest quality, cost-effective healthcare possible is what makes him stand out," says Ms. Kennison. "[He] is a tireless leader whose knowledge, skills and work ethic are a shining example of what is right in American healthcare." Mr. Blake also serves as an active member of the Texas ASC Society Board of Directors and recently completed his term as the society's president.

Steven Blom, RN, MAHSM, CASC (Specialty Surgery Center in San Antonio, Texas). Mr. Blom has been the executive director of the Specialty Surgery Center in San Antonio for just over 10 years, a position he fills in addition to his work as regional director for national surgical care at National Surgical Care. He says his biggest accomplishment with SSC has been the center's consistent growth. When it opened its doors, the ASC had two ORs with nine physicians performing around 3,000 cases annually. Today, the ASC is up to 30 physicians performing over 9,000 cases annually. The center's leaders were able to design and build a new, five-OR facility in 2005. "The challenges are dealing with the increased complexity of the regulatory issues we have to comply with and struggles we face in reimbursement and cost controls," he says. "I really enjoy the people I work with and the people I meet and interact with throughout the industry." He says his personal administrative philosophy is to hire the right people and take care of them. "Never be afraid to get in there yourself and support the staff," he says. "And never forget our existence is based [on] excellent patient care and the quality of the relationships we have with our physicians."

Chris E. Bockelman, CPA (Foundation Surgery Center of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City, Okla.).
Mr. Bockelman has served as administrator of Foundation Surgery Center since April 2010. During his time at the center, he has increased case volume by recruiting three new surgeons previously considered "unattainable," as well as two more busy surgeons who are currently preparing to join the center. He also increased patient census over the course of eight months and will continue to grow volume into 2011. A former area vice president with Option Care/Walgreens in home IV therapy, Mr. Bockelman says he believes ASC administrator success is "in the details."

Betty Bozzuto, RN, MBA, CASC (Naugatuck Valley Surgical Center in Waterbury, Conn.).
Ms. Bozzuto is executive director of Naugatuck Valley Surgical Center and former president and a founding member of the Connecticut Association of Ambulatory Surgery Centers. She is a former board member of FASA. Ms. Bozzuto is also a surveyor for AAAHC and president of Connecticut's Ambulatory Surgery Center Patient Safety Organization. Ms. Bozzuto holds an MBA from the University of New Haven.

John Brock (NorthStar Surgical Center in Lubbock, Texas). Mr. Brock has served as the administrator of NorthStar Surgical Center for 5.5 years. During his time at NorthStar, Mr. Brock has grown case volume for three out of five years, syndicated multiple new physician partners, added a new service line in gastric lap banding and opened a sixth OR, among other accomplishments. When asked about his personal philosophy as an administrator, Mr. Brock says, "First and foremost, my profession is about people and relationships. Healthcare is a service industry, and at NorthStar Surgical Center, it's all about the experience … I recognize that as the administrator, I play but one small part in the overall work that goes on each day." Prior to his current role, he served as CEO of three different hospitals, COO of one hospital and executive at a large, faith-based health system.

Pamela Bronson (Northeast Surgical Care in Newington, N.H.).
Ms. Bronson has been the administrator of Northeast Surgical Care since the center opened in 2000. The freestanding ASC features a single OR that regularly functions at maximum capacity and handles 1,800 cases each year. The ASC recently celebrated its 10th anniversary with an open house celebration for physicians and staff. According to Eric Simon of Access Sports Medicine and Orthopaedics, Ms. Bronson played an integral role in the opening of Northeast Surgical Care. "The project was met with a significant amount of resistance in the Seacoast communities," he says. "The hospital system that was in place was very strong, and they did not want to allow a freestanding ASC in their market." Following lengthy legal battles, Northeast Surgical Care was built and served as a foundation for other ASCs in New Hampshire. "There are now more than 20 ASCs throughout the state," Mr. Cimon says. "By accommodating patients more quickly and efficiently, Northeast Surgical Care can offer services at a significant discount compared to what patients would face at many other facilities."

Dean Brown (The Orthopaedic Center at Springhill in Mobile, Ala.).
Mr. Brown has served as the CEO of Alabama Orthopaedic Clinic, a group of 20 orthopedic specialists in Mobile, for the past 11 years. For the past six years, has had a dual role as the administrator for The Orthopaedic Center at Springhill. In 2003, Mr. Brown assisted his group with negotiations for a joint venture with one of their local hospitals in the development of a 78,000-square-foot orthopedic center that included a 17,000-square-foot ASC — a 50/50 partnership between physicians and the hospital. Once the project was developed, Mr. Brown was asked by the ASC board to serve as the administrator of The Orthopaedic Center at Springhill, a four-OR, two-procedure room outpatient surgery center. The two entities employ over 300 people, and the facility is AAAHC-accredited and has been since its first year of operation in 2004. Over 6,000 cases are performed at The Orthopaedic Center annually, in specialties including orthopedics, pain management and plastic surgery. According to Mr. Brown, the center has been profitable since its first year of operation. Mr. Brown completed his CASC certification in 2006 and his CMPE certification in 2001.

Chuck Brown (Bidwell Surgery Center in Middletown, Ohio). Mr. Brown worked for Health Inventures in ASC development for the first 10 years of his career before he had the opportunity to open Bidwell Surgery Center. The center has struggled financially because of the economy of the local area — Medicaid represents 33 percent of the ASC's payor mix. Due to these challenges, Mr. Brown says his main goals are to keep staff morale high, maintain costs and provide excellent patient care. "One thing I'm proud of is that our patient satisfaction scores are in the top echelon," he says. "There are no egos [on our team]. We all pitch in and do everything. I think that helps morale, when you're got everyone at all levels doing all they can to help it run smoothly." Bidwell Surgery Center contains five ORs and one procedure room and spans around 18,500 square feet. The center performed just under 3,000 cases last year, mostly in the areas of pain and GI.

Ron Bullen (Moreland Surgery Center in Waukesha, Wis.). Mr. Bullen is a 23-year Major retired from the U.S. Army; he owns his own consulting business and manages a medical services outsourcing company in addition to running his seven-OR multi-specialty ASC. Mr. Bullen was instrumental in forming and developing the current joint-venture ASC entity, which has been in operation for two years and has performed well above the industry mean financially. With his help, non-owner volumes have grown by five percent and overall facility volume has grown by 10 percent. Taking the preoperative process online with SourcePlus Passport helped the entity to achieve strong patient satisfaction scores, high quality outcomes and increased surgeon and employee satisfaction, which translates into financial success, according to Mr. Bullen. Describing his relationship with his staff, Mr. Bullen says, "My relationship with my staff is clearly communicated up front in my leadership philosophy. We work together to remove barriers that keep us from doing our jobs efficiently and effectively while always striving to increase our knowledge, skills and abilities. This usually translates into satisfied employees that perform at a higher level, which in turn leads to better outcomes and improved organizational performance.

Karen Cannizzaro, CASC (Physicians Day Surgery Center in Naples, Fla.).
Ms. Cannizzaro started her career in ambulatory surgery in 1992, working as a surgery scheduler. During her first six years in the ASC industry, she performed every non-nursing position, from ordering supplies to working with accounting. She says she "literally worked her way into administration" and received her CASC certification in 2006. Ms. Cannizzaro was recruited to the newly-opened Physicians Day Surgery Center in 1998, and other than a two-year break to pursue another interest, she has been there ever since. Physicians Day Surgery Center is a multi-specialty facility that performs around 3,000 cases annually, mostly in the areas of orthopedics, ENT and general surgery. The center has always been entirely physician-owned and has never seen a corporate or hospital partner. "This makes us work harder to succeed," Ms. Cannizzaro says. "We do not have the resources or negotiating power that come from having an affiliation with a bigger entity." Though the economy had an impact on Ms. Cannizzaro's center, she says Physicians Day was able to maintain its business through the hardest times. The center's patient satisfaction rate consistently runs over 99 percent, and the average employee has been with the facility for eight years.

Connie Casey (Northpoint Surgery and Laser Center in West Palm Beach, Fla.). Ms. Casey is the administrator of Northpoint Surgery and Laser Center, the first physician-owned surgery center in the West Palm Beach area. When the center opened in 1996, the owners were told they would never make it — local providers weren't used to the ASC model and believed competitors would force the facility out of business. Fifteen years later, Northpoint Surgery and Laser Center is one of the most profitable healthcare facilities in the area, staffing 82 employees and featuring five ORs, two endoscopy procedure rooms and a pain management center. "Our physicians work together solidly," Ms. Casey says. "All physicians are a team. They understand the concept of the business and what it takes to make it work. If I ask someone to change a day so I can bring another surgeon in, they say, 'What day and what time?'" Ms. Casey credits her center's success to its dedicated employees, many of whom have been with the center for more than 10 years. "When we took on [National Surgical Care as] an equity partner in 2003, the stipulation was that the employees were treated the same," she says. Today the center offers quarterly bonuses, excellent benefits, PTO and an employee assistance program.

Cynthia Condron (South Shore Surgery Center in Bay Shore, N.Y.).
Ms. Condron serves as the administrator of South Shore Surgery Center, a facility that opened in collaboration with ASCOA in Dec. 2010. The newly constructed facility is an 11,000-square-foot center with three operating rooms and two procedure rooms. The center achieved successful New York State licensure on Dec. 17 and performed its first case on Dec. 20. Prior to joining South Shore, Ms. Condron served as facility administrator in the construction and development of an orthopedic ASC on the north shore of Long Island, a position she held for six years. She also attained successful New York State licensure and Medicare/AAAHC certification with her prior center. Ms. Condron holds an MBA from Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Fla., and has over 15 years of experience in healthcare. 

Mary Ann Cooney, RN, CASC (Riverside Outpatient Surgery Center, Columbus, Ohio). Ms. Cooney is the administrator of Riverside Outpatient Surgery Center, a multi-specialty facility in central Ohio with six ORs and one minor procedure room. ROSC performs over 6,000 cases per year. The specialties at the facility, which is currently managed by Health Inventures, include general surgery, gynecology, hand orthopedics, ophthalmology, orthopedics, pain management, plastic surgery and urology. "Our philosophy is a professional service commitment, in partnership with patients, families, and other members of the health care team," Ms. Cooney says. "We believe that the ambulatory surgery patient should expect to receive cost effective, convenient, efficient care, consistent with accepted standards of practice, recognizing the patients' rights to be active participants in their plan of care." The evolution of the center began with its building and opening in 1972 by a small group of innovative physicians and in 1977 was acquired by Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, Ohio as a freestanding outpatient surgery department. The surgery center became a joint venture with OhioHealth and physicians in 1997.

Rebecca Craig, RN, CNOR, CASC, CPC-H (Harmon Surgery Center in Fort Collins, Colo.).
Ms. Craig is CEO of Harmony Surgery Center, a multi-specialty, Joint Commission-accredited ASC. Ms. Craig helped to open the joint-venture center 10 years ago. She began her career as a registered nurse, working at a rural hospital in the OR, PACU, gastroenterology and pain management areas. She held several leadership roles in perioperative services before moving into outpatient and ambulatory surgery. In April 2008, Ms. Craig helped develop and open another joint-venture ASC, MCR Surgery Center, with local physicians and Poudre Valley Health System in Loveland, Colo. According to Ms. Craig, she enjoys leading both facilities and working with world class physicians and a world class healthcare system. In addition to her work with Harmon Surgery Center, Ms. Craig serves as secretary for the Colorado Ambulatory Surgery Center Association.

Tracy Cregg (Surgery Center of Silverdale in Silverdale, Wash.). Ms. Cregg was the first employee hired by the Surgery Center of Silverdale upon its opening in May 2007. She was initially hired as the center's business manager, and together with the medical director, completed the implementation of services at the center, including setting up the practice management system, hiring the staff, planning for the services and achieving accreditation and Medicare certification. The center received both AAAHC accreditation and CMS certification through an early option survey immediately upon opening its doors. Ms. Cregg was promoted to administrator in Feb. 2009 and has since added pain management and five other specialties and continued AAAHC accreditation. "Prior to coming to the surgery center, I worked for over 20 years in the health insurance industry and employee benefits administrator," she says. "Upon coming to the center, I found it fascinating to be on the provider side versus the payor side of healthcare." Ms. Cregg says she makes an effort to listen to her staff, solicit their opinions and learn from them constantly.

Deborah Lee Crook, RN, CASC (Valley Ambulatory Surgery Center & Valley Medical Inn in St. Charles, Ill.). Ms. Crook's ASC, Valley Ambulatory Surgery Center & Valley Medical Inn, is a seven-OR, multispecialty surgical facility with an attached post-surgical recovery care center. The center sees over 5,500 cases annually. Ms Crook has worked in professional nursing and administration for over 25 years, with 18 years of her career spent at the ASC. Since assuming her role as administrator in 2006, she has implemented improvements and changes in communication, staffing patterns, teaching, use of technology, change in processes and expense management to increase the efficiency of the center.

Brenda Cyrulik (Eastland Medical Plaza Surgicenter in Bloomington, Ill.). Ms. Cyrulik is the administrator at the Eastland Medical Plaza Surgicenter in Bloomington, Ill., a joint venture between St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington and 26 physician-investors. The center opened in 2001 and has four ORs dedicated to multi-specialty surgery and four procedure rooms dedicated to endoscopy and pain management. The center performs an average of 7,200 procedures annually. Ms. Cyrulik has been at Eastland since 1999, when the center was fully owned by St. Joseph. Prior to coming to Eastland, she served as a surgery manager at BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Ill., and worked for two years as a circulating staff nurse at Gailey Eye Surgicenter in Bloomington, Ill.

Louise DeChesser, RN, CNOR, MS (West Hartford Surgery Center in West Hartford, Conn.). Ms. DeChesser, administrator of West Harford Surgery Center, has over 40 years of perioperative healthcare leadership experience. Prior to joining HVP, she served as director of surgical services for a large New England Hospital, as president of her own surgery center consulting company, Surgical Solutions, and in various regional, operational and administrator positions in surgery centers throughout the Northeast. In addition to her corporate responsibilities with HVP and her administrator position with West Hartford Surgery Center, she also sits on the board of directors for the CT Patient Safety Organization as well as the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce. Ms. DeChesser has authored or co-authored numerous publications regarding patient safety and quality initiatives for such publications as The International Journal of Day Surgery and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Greg DeConciliis, CASC (Boston Out-Patient Surgical Suites in Waltham, Mass.).
Mr. DeConciliis serves as the administrator of Boston Out-Patient Surgical Suites, which opened in July 2004 as a multi-specialty center specializing in orthopedics and pain management. Prior to joining the center, Mr. DeConciliis worked as a physician assistant at the New England Baptist Hospital for five years. He is still a licensed PA and assists on more complex orthopedic cases at the center. In March 2010, the center sold a majority interest to AmSurg. Speaking about his personal philosophy as an ASC administrator, Mr. DeConciliis says, "I believe in fostering a family environment, which they in turn pass along to the patients. I am extremely active with all of the staff and their needs and try to cultivate a culture of excellence in all we do." He says the center has achieved over 98 percent "excellent" ratings on patient satisfaction surveys, an accomplishment he credits to the outstanding quality of care that surgeons and staff provide to patients. "I believe as an administrator, you must be most visible when the 'going gets tough' — on those busy days you must grab a mop or bring patients to their car," he says. "Do the little things that show the staff that you are by their side during difficult times."

Linda Deeming, RN, BSN, MBA, CNOR (Longmont Surgery Center in Longmont, Colo.). Ms. Deeming has served as the administrator of Longmont Surgery Center since Jan. 2009. The multi-specialty surgery center, which opened in Oct. 1996, has grown to include five ORs, two endoscopy suites and one procedure room. Since starting work at Longmont, Ms. Deeming has successfully increased patient, staff and physician satisfaction scores, maintained fiscal strength during an economically challenging season, implemented a new software program and prepared the center to convert paper charts to an electronic health record. She credits her center's success to her board of directors, clinical and office staff, surgeons and anesthesiologists. "Together they provide a dynamic, high-quality, friendly alternative for the patient in need of surgical services," she says. Prior to serving as administrator of Longmont, Ms. Deeming worked as a critical care RN, a cardiac surgical nurse and an OR scrub and circulator. She has also owned her own bookkeeping and accounting firm.

Jody Delahunty, RN, CNOR (Heartland Surgery Center in Kearney, Neb.). Ms. Delahunty started at Heartland Surgery Center as clinical director when it opened in May 2001 and was asked to move into the administrator role one month later. The center's first few years were "slow and steady," she says, but when a large orthopedic group moved its cases to the center, case volume jumped from 2,000 cases annually to 5,600. Ms. Delahunty was instrumental in attracting the group to Heartland, as well as purchasing instruments, supplies and implants. Prior to her role at Heartland, Ms. Delahunty worked at Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney for 21 years, serving as an RN in the surgery department. She has been an RN for 31 years and holds the CNOR credential. "I enjoy my challenging job and see it constantly evolving," she says.

Jolynn Dobson Cook, RN, COE (Laurel Eye Clinic and Laurel Laser & Surgery Centers in Brookville, Pa.)
. Ms. Cook is the administrator of the Laurel Eye Clinic and the Laurel Laser & Surgery Centers, a position she has held for 13 years. As administrator, she oversaw the development and construction for both ophthalmic ASCs owned by the practice. A certified ophthalmic executive, Ms. Cook is a registered nurse and also holds a degree in healthcare administration. She is an annual presenter at the national ASOA Congress and the Hawaiian Eye meetings. In 2010, she completed her second term as the president of the National Board of Certified Ophthalmic Executives. In addition, she has authored articles for Administrative Eyecare and BSM Connection, a publication associated with business management and training company BSM Consulting. Ms. Cook is a member of the BSM Advisory Board, which provides guidance into BSM Consulting's distant learning and practice management content and development, and has authored two ophthalmic educational courses.

Lynda Dowman Simon (St. John's Clinic: Head & Neck Surgery in Springfield, Mo.). Ms. Simon is the administrator at St. John's Clinic: Head & Neck Surgery. Ms. Simon has been at her center since 1994. Prior to coming to St. John's, she worked for 13 years at a local hospital in the open heart center and urology. According to Ms. Dowman Simon, St. John's is the only ASC in Missouri dedicated solely to ENT procedures, and the center's patient satisfaction rating currently sits at 98.17 percent. "Coworkers [who are] hired, stay," she says. "I have not hired a new person in over 3.5 years." The center, which is part of Mercy Health systems, performed its 30,000th case on July 5, 2010.

Vicki Edelman, RN, CASC (Blue Bell Surgery Center in Blue Bell, Pa.). Ms. Edelman is the administrator of Blue Bell Surgery Center, a four-room, multi-specialty ASC that opened in Sept. 2008. Surgeons specialize in orthopedics, ENT, pain management, plastic surgery, general surgery, ophthalmology and gastroenterology. Blue Bell sees around 225 patients monthly and is managed by Ambulatory Surgical Centers of America. Ms. Edelman has been with Blue Bell since May 2008, during the center's construction phase. Ms. Edelman credits her center's success to the energy, resourcefulness and dedication of her team. "My job would not be possible without their tireless efforts to maintain our high standards, and their support in providing quality patient care to the community we serve," she says. She has been a nurse for 32 years and began her career in medical surgical nursing and high-risk obstetrics. Her first management role was as assistant nurse manager at Philadelphia's Albert Einstein Medical Center's short procedure unit and admission discharge unit.

Pamela J. Ertel, RN, BSN, RNFA, CNOR, FABC, CASC (The Reading Hospital SurgiCenter at Spring Ridge in Reading, Pa.).
Ms. Ertel oversees daily operations at The Reading Hospital SurgiCenter at Spring Ridge, a multi-specialty ASC that includes eight operating rooms, 10 pre-operative bays, 19 post-operative bays and one special procedure room. She also serves as president of the Pennsylvania Ambulatory Surgery Association. Under Ms. Ertel's leadership, patient volume at the center increased by three percent in 2010 with no increase in supply costs due to supply standardization. Describing her relationship with her staff, Ms. Ertel says, "My staff is by far the best I have ever had the pleasure of working with. They are dedicated to excellence and strive every day to make our customers more than satisfied. I was humbled when they nominated me for the Greater Philadelphia/Tri State Regional Nursing Spectrum Excellence Award in the management category, [for] which I was chosen as the winner." On a recent employee survey conducted by an outside company, employees responded with a 4.45 to the question, "Does your director doing a good job of leading this organization?" — substantially higher than the national norm of 3.55.

Carolyn Evec, RN, CNOR (The Surgery Center at Beaufort in South Carolina). Ms. Evec opened a surgery center in Mississippi and served as its nurse manager prior to joining The Surgery Center at Beaufort. She has 30 years of nursing experience and has held various management positions including director of surgery, director of medical and surgical services, vice president of patient services and director of rural health clinics. Ms. Evec has helped improve efficiency at her center in many ways. "With the help of the staff, we developed an ordering system for supplies that now involves all of the staff and eliminated a part-time staff position," she says. "We now order supplies two days a week, and it takes only about an hour to complete the process." Ms. Evec says, "I love the privilege and challenge of being involved in all aspects of the operations of the center. Coming from a clinical background, I have really enjoyed learning and being responsible for the business side of operations as well. I enjoy the fact that every day is different and that I have the ability and support of the medical staff to affect change when needed."

Andrea Fann (Orthopaedic South Surgical Center). Ms. Fann serves as the administrator of Orthopaedic South Surgical Center, a United Surgical Partners International facility. She has served in the position — her first administrator role — since 2005, before which she worked as business office manager for Buckhead Ambulatory Surgery Center and as director of front office operations for Atlanta Outpatient Surgery Center (both HCA facilities). She prides herself on providing an honest, warm and caring atmosphere for everyone who enters her center: employees, physicians, visitors and patients. "When we take care of our employees and provide strong leadership, they are more productive, and their happiness is seen by our patients and physicians," she says. Ms. Fann doesn't take her role for granted. She firmly believes that a manager does not automatically become a leader and that installing the right team is essential for ASC success. In 2010, Orthopaedic South Surgical Center was recognized as a Clayton County Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year Finalist.

Scott N. Faringer, CMPE, CASC (Tri-City Orthopaedic Center in Richland, Wash.).
Mr. Faringer is the administrator of The Tri-City Orthopaedic Center, a USPI facility. He has 27 years of healthcare experience, including 16 in hospital management. He has spent the last 11 years in ASC administration, where he successfully oversaw three AAAHC accreditation surveys. His ASC experience is not limited to his own center: Mr. Faringer was a past president of the Washington Ambulatory Surgery Center Association from 2004-2006 and served on the WA State Certificate of Need Technical Advisory Committee from 2005-2006. He is currently the USPI Washington State Advocacy member, a position for which he recently made a trip to Washington, D.C., to pitch a new ASC reimbursement methodology to elected officials. Mr. Faringer passed the CASC exam in 2003 and became a Certified Medical Practice Executive through the American College of Medical Practice Executives in 2005.

Judy Fladeboe (Willmar Surgery Center in Willmar, Minn.). Ms. Fladeboe serves as the administrator of Willmar Surgery Center. During her career, Ms. Fladeboe has accumulated 24 years of experience working in emergency departments and GI/endoscopy units, including 14 years as manager. She also has five years of administrative experience in a multi-specialty clinic setting and seven years of management experience in a multi-specialty ASC. In her current position, she has led the ASC through a successful EMR implementation — Willmar Surgery Center has been using ProVation Medical software for five years. She has also helped the center achieve AAAHC accreditation. On her personal philosophy as an administrator, Ms. Fladeboe says, "My greatest reward is seeing staff develop to their full potential."

Alisa Fischer, CASC (St. Augustine Surgery Center in Florida). Ms. Fischer is the administrator of St. Augustine Surgery Center, a center that was formally owned by a hospital corporation and purchased in May 2006 by ASCOA. Prior to St. Augustine, she served as an administrator at HCA and BayCare Health System. She also ran the operating room schedule at a 16-suite OR in Lexington, Ky. Ms. Fischer joined the center in July 2006 during what she calls "a very challenging startup." She says, "The center was still trying to get its Medicare number and billing [systems] arranged. In addition, our primary commercial payor sent our payments to the prior owner, and it took several months to retrieve and correct this." Ms. Fischer is a great believer in the benefit of ambulatory surgery: "We have great customer satisfaction, [with] patient satisfaction scores of 96-98 percent, [and] we have a less than one percent infection rate," she says. "We are a lower-cost alternative to the hospital, yet a patient can expect the same, if not better, expertise with state-of-the-art equipment."

Dana Folstrom, RN, CASC (Mirage Endoscopy Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif.). Mr. Folstrom, administrator of Mirage Endoscopy Center, calls his biggest success "being able to do over 7,000 cases a year out of two procedure rooms." He says the remarkable case volume was achieved through physician compliance, block scheduling and a great clinical and business office staff — as well as support from Health Inventures, the center's management company. "We started out the first year at just over 5,000 cases," he says. "We operate in an environment which is overwhelmingly Medicare [and] we average perhaps 55 percent Medicare in any given year. In spite of the cuts in Medicare over the last four years, we have maintained consistent distributions every quarter." He says the center has managed to produce consistent distributions by reworking payor contracts, promoting aggressive collections and operating efficiently. "It takes the cooperation of everyone involved, from contracted housekeeping to the physicians and their offices," he says. Prior to joining her current center, Mr. Folstrom worked in the GI department of Eisenhower Medical Center and as director of nursing for the Hebrew Homes of San Diego.

Kerri Gantt (Barkley Surgicenter in Fort Meyers, Fla.). Ms. Gantt has been employed by Gastroenterology Associates of S.W. Florida and Barkley Surgicenter for over 15 years. As administrator of the two organizations, she oversees business and clinical operations. According to Catherine Musselwhite, clinical supervisor of Gastroenterology Associates of S.W. Florida, Ms. Gantt's contributions are critical to the success of the organizations. "Kerri tirelessly researchers ways to improve day-to-day functions and to make this a sensible and enjoyable work place," she says. "There are many employees who have been here for over 10 years due to her commitment to the staff. The physicians count on her and she never lets them down." Ms. Gantt has served as past president of Health Management Association and is an active member of the Professional Association of Health Care Office Managers and the Medical Group Management Association. Ms. Gantt is also a licensed healthcare risk manager in the state of Florida, as well as a certified medical manager.

Melodie R. Garrobo, CASC (Golden Ridge Surgery Center in Golden, Colo.).
When Ms. Garrobo took over as administrator of Golden Ridge Surgery Center in 2007, she inherited an ASC with good case volume but high case costs and poor collections. By changing processes through standardization, better contracts and GPO utilization, she has kept expense increases at just under 3 percent over the last four years. The center's cash collections have increased every year since her arrival, resulting in partner distributions that increased 100 percent in her first year on the job and have remained steady ever since. When she started at the center, Golden Ridge's days in A/R was well over 60; four years later, it tallies below 30. Ms. Garrobo says although the center's wage expenses have not survived as well, the center boasts 10 individuals who have been at the facility for seven out of its 10 operational years. "Our center firmly credits its success to the dedication and commitment of our staff," she says. "We believe in a bottoms-up approach with regard to accountability and encourage our entire staff to take active ownership in the affairs of the center." Golden Ridge started a bonus program two years ago to provide staff with the opportunity to set benchmarks and track progress.

Cindy Givens (Surgery Center at Tanasbourne in Hillsboro, Ore.).
Ms. Givens serves as administrator of Surgery Center at Tanasbourne, a multi-specialty facility with four ORs and two procedure rooms managed by Blue Chip Surgical Center Partners. In early 2010, Ms. Givens developed and implemented a "direct access colonoscopy program" to meet a critical community need to improve compliance rates with screening recommendations, which helped increase the surgery center's case volume. Ms. Givens has been involved with the ASC industry for seven years, previously having helped develop an innovative women's specialty facility with one OR in Portland. She serves as secretary of the Oregon Ambulatory Surgery Center Association Board. She has also worked in hospital settings as a staff nurse and outpatient settings as a clinical nurse in women's health services.

Nancy Goldbranson (The Virginia Spine Institute in Reston, Va.).
Ms. Goldbranson, practice administrator of The Virginia Spine Institute, is the practice's most seasoned member after CEO and President Thomas C. Schuler, MD. She has committed herself to the institute for nearly 13 years, prior to which she studied business administrator at East Carolina University. According to her colleagues, Ms. Goldbranson ensures the seven-physician practice runs seamlessly day in and day out, and her experience in all facets of the organization has proven to be a vital factor in its success. "I have known Nancy for 19 years," says Dr. Schuler. "She is bright, honest, ethical, compassionate and possesses great integrity. She is unparalleled in her understanding of customer service." Ms. Goldbranson's senior administrative assistant, Linda Brock, says Ms. Goldbranson's vision inspired her to want her current job in the first place. Under her direction, the practice won a "Best Places to Work" award from Washingtonian Magazine.

Judy Graham (Cypress Surgery Center in Wichita, Kan.). Ms. Graham is administrator of Cypress Surgery Center, a freestanding, multi-specialty ASC that opened in Dec. 2000. In 2006, the physicians that founded Cypress entered into a joint venture with Symbion Healthcare. Ms. Graham has been with Cypress for 9.5 years, since construction on the facility began. She has a strong clinical background in the OR and ambulatory surgery and previously served as an OR manager and a clinical director in ASCs before moving into the role of administrator. Ms. Graham has faced many challenges, including developing a partnership between a privately owned center and a corporate partner. She says, "It was of the utmost importance for us to find a corporate partner that held the same high standards and to also accomplish a seamless transition for our physicians and employees — change always makes everyone nervous." When it comes to Cypress' success, Ms. Graham says, "Our employees have always been the source of our success, and it has been such an honor and privilege to lead them the past 9.5 years. Cypress is very fortunate to have a great group of physicians who work well together and treat the staff with dignity and respect."

Shawna Hall, CASC (New River Valley Surgery Center in Christiansburg, Va.).
Ms. Hall joined her current center as administrative director in 2004, the year the center opened. She admits that the last few years have not been busy for New River Valley; since the economy took its toll on the Christiansburg area, the center has experienced a decline in case volume due to the loss of several surgeons and an increase in local unemployment. Thankfully, the ASC was able to cut expenses and remain viable without cutting full-time equivalents or affecting patient care. Ms. Hall's positive effect on her center is evident from staff turnover: 12 of the 19 current employees at New River Valley have been with the center since its inception. The ASC achieved accreditation with AAAHC in 2006 and again in 2009, the year that Ms. Hall passed her CASC certification exam. The center is also certified by Medicare.

Anne Hargrave-Thomas (West Bloomfield Surgery Center in West Bloomfield, Mich.).
Ms. Hargrave-Thomas, CEO of West Bloomfield Surgery Center, is credited with taking a struggling facility and turning it into a competitive and highly functioning ASC, according to Jennifer Butterfield, RN, director of surgical services. Despite the poor Michigan economy, the facility has seen growth, and Ms. Hargrave-Thomas' leadership skills have earned her praise and recognition from the center's managing partner, National Surgical Hospitals. Ms. Hargrave-Thomas works along with NSH leadership to provide onsite mock readiness surveys nationwide and works with many nursing organizations to provide educational opportunities for nurses. In addition to her work with WBSC, Ms. Hargrave-Thomas is president of the Michigan Ambulatory Surgery Center Association. Her success is not limited to financial success. Ms. Butterfield says, "Anne cares deeply about her employees and it shows by the addition of employee recognition programs, improved benefits and empowering the employees and physicians to make WBSC a place they want to work." She says the center's outstanding patient, physician and employee satisfaction scores are evidence of Ms. Hargrave-Thomas' dedication and commitment to patients, physicians and staff.

Bill Hazen, RN, CHT (The Surgery Center at Pelham in Greer, S.C.).
Mr. Hazen joined the Surgery Center at Pelham six years ago, ending his 25-year tenure with Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System to join the facility. He has moved up through the ranks of the healthcare system over his career, starting as a registered nurse and moving to positions as a coordinator of hyperbaric medicine, director of market and development and director of special projects when building the Surgery Center of Pelham. One of his biggest successes as an administrator has been the introduction of a quarterly employee bonus system. The amount of the bonus is split equally among all employees to encourage ownership, teamwork and fairness. The bonus system has also helped keep expenses down by incenting employees to cut costs wherever appropriate. Mr. Hazen believes the imminent implementation of an electronic health record from Source Medical will also be beneficial to the center's business. Mr. Hazen describes his relationship with the staff as unique. "I wear scrubs every day and not a suit so the employees see I am part of the team just like they are," he says. "It is not unusual for me to help turn over a room, including mopping and taking out the trash. The staff knows that I am truly involved in our center in every aspect."

Steve Henry (Fremont Surgical Center in Fremont, Neb.). In July 2010, Mr. Henry began to serve as administrator of Fremont Surgical Center. Since joining the center, he has racked up an impressive list of accomplishments: He has adjusted the center's staffing model to increase productivity and net revenue and analyzed payor contacts to ensure reimbursement covers the cost of all procedures performed. His analysis and adjustment of the center's chargemaster is projected to result in a 25 percent increase in net revenue. His goals for 2011 include projects to enhance patient privacy and satisfaction, the creation of teambuilding exercises to improve employee cohesion and his upcoming CASC certification exam in May. When asked about his philosophy as an administrator, Mr. Henry says, "[I strive] to create an atmosphere that promotes satisfaction for patients, employees and physicians without sacrificing high quality, low cost and effective outpatient surgical services." He says the excitement of being part of the ASC industry — "an integral sector of the healthcare market that reduces costs, creates jobs and provides high quality care" — is a never-ending adventure.

Tracy Hoeft-Hoffman (Hastings Surgical Center in Nebraska). As administrator of Nueterra Healthcare's Hastings Surgical Center, Ms. Hoeft-Hoffman has successfully met key financial indicators for her center since its opening in 2006. She credits her outstanding ASC team to "[having] hired winners, not whiners, resulting in an excellent team with great patient and surgeon satisfaction." During challenging economic times — the local area saw a 10 percent decrease in workforce over one year — the center has managed to stabilize case volume with an increase in net revenue per case, as well as pay off its operating line of credit and equipment loan ahead of schedule. In 2011, Ms. Hoeft-Hoffman hopes to grow case volume by adding a new orthopedic surgeon and OB/GYN physician and stay on top of current state and national legislation. Prior to joining Hastings Surgical Center, she served as administrator and director of facility operations for the East Division of EXCEL Development Group in Lincoln, Neb., and director of orthopedics and neurosurgery at Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center in Lincoln.

Tom Holecek (Palos Surgicenter in Palos Heights, Ill.). After several years of managing GI labs and medical practices in the hospital setting, Mr. Holecek became the administrator at Palos Surgicenter, managed by Regent Surgical Health, in Sept. 2007. At the time Mr. Holecek joined the center, the ASC was just realizing the benefits of a hospital joint-venture agreement established in Jan. 2007. Despite the center's early success, the facility was still lacking in several areas: Among other issues, more space was needed for quicker turnaround of cases, the waiting room needed modernizing and monitors and patient carts were "well past their useful lives," says Mr. Holecek. In Sept. 2009, after months of meetings and discussions, Mr. Holecek was able to gain consensus between the hospital landlord and the board of managers to embark on a $2 million renovation project that would take 12 months and three phases to complete. Despite the challenges of construction, Mr. Holecek was able to keep daily operations safe and robust, and case volume surprisingly increased from the previous year. The renovation project was completed in 2010 and has resulted in improved patient and staff satisfaction and a more efficient patient experience. In addition, Mr. Holecek has ramped up the orthopedics specialty to nearly double the volume from the previous year.

Carolyn Hollowood, RN, BSN, CNOR, RNFA, CASC (City Place Surgery Center in Creve Coeur, Mo.).
Ms. Hollowood is the administrator of a four-OR, orthopedic-driven surgery center in West St. Louis County. She has been with the center for 10 years, starting when it operated out of a two-OR surgery center. Five years ago, she helped design the new center — a medical office building which is now open. In Sept. 2009, the center partnered with Meridian Surgical Partners. During her tenure at City Place, Ms. Hollowood has managed to standardize much of the equipment the surgeons use at the center, as well as introduce new procedures and processes into daily operations. With 20 years of nursing experience under her belt, Ms. Hollowood knows how to pitch in and help out around her center. Prior to joining City Place, she worked as an RN first assistant at an acute care center.

Dale Holmes (Warner Park Surgery Center in Chandler, Ariz.). Mr. Holmes has been busy in his two years with Warner Park Surgery Center. He was hired by USPI in 2009 to turn around the center and successfully upgraded the facility, passed CMS and AAAHC surveys and brought the ASC ahead of budget in just a few years. He increased revenue by recruiting new physicians, consolidating the schedule and starting new service lines, and is currently working on a move to a new location. Prior to joining Warner Park Surgery Center, he served as administrator and CEO of Banner Health's Surgicenter in Phoenix — the first freestanding ASC in the country. At Surgicenter, he was responsible for overseeing 850 cases per month and managed to break the center's record number of cases per month in its 35-year history. He also led the Banner Health system in profits, surgeon and patient satisfaction and employee engagement — in addition to doubling the center's share value in three years.

Patti Holston, CMPE (Bay Area Physicians Surgery Center in Riverview, Fla.).
Ms. Holston has over 30 years of experience in healthcare, with the last seven years dedicated to ambulatory surgery administration. In her current center, she has helped increase case volume by over 600 percent and doubled the number of surgeons performing cases at the ASC. Regarding her personal role as an administrator, she says she bases her daily conduct on three key ideas: First, when there is a problem, look for patterns. Second, when developing solutions, consider alternatives. Third, always listen to people. Ms. Holston holds a master's in hospital and health administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and is a Certified Medical Practice Executive in the American College of Medical Practice Executives.

Georganna Howell (Greenspring Surgery Center in Baltimore). Ms. Howell has served as administrator of Greenspring Surgery Center for 18 months, bringing 32 years of nursing experience to her role at the Baltimore facility. According to Chris Bishop, senior vice president of acquisitions and development for Blue Chip Surgical Center Partners, Ms. Howell has "found her niche" in ASC management. She has achieved several meaningful accomplishments with Greenspring, including increasing case volumes, decreasing center operational costs, negotiating vendor agreements, improving throughput, unearthing hidden equipment and supplies and improving staff morale. On a personal level, Mr. Bishop says Ms. Howell is loyal, effective in crisis management and fearless. "Her tiny frame will fool the unknowing," he says. She has achieved numerous certifications, including the Trauma Nurse Core Curriculum, Emergency Pediatric Nurse Core Curriculum, Certified Nurse Operating Room and Certified Fixed Wing Helicopter Transport.

Karen Howey, CASC (Matrix Surgery Center in Saginaw, Mich.). In the 11 years she spent as a financial manager for Citigroup in Michigan, Ms. Howey always dreamed of going back to the medical community, the path she had imagined for herself when she graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in health communications in 1994. In 2005, her opportunity arrived: A new, single-specialty ASC was planned for Saginaw, Mich., and Ms. Howey was invited to oversee construction and licensing with the help of the center's management group, Titan Health Corp. With a strong financial background but limited medical background, she pursued her CASC certification almost immediately and received her certification 18 months after becoming the center's administrator. During her time at the center, MSC has received Joint Commission accreditation, added five more specialties and grown to over 32 full-time employees. Ms. Howey says the center's biggest challenge occurred when its founding physician, Richard Lingenfelter, MD, passed away unexpectedly in 2009. Ultimately the center was able to become closer as a team from the experience, as well as recover the substantial loss in case volume resulting from Dr. Lingenfelter's death. Ms. Howey is currently pursuing her master's degree and hopes to expand Matrix to better serve patient needs.

Jennifer Hunara, MHA/MBA (Surgery Center of Allentown in Allentown, Pa.).
Ms. Hunara has managed the Surgery Center of Allentown, a large multi-specialty ASC, for the last four years. The center is partnered with ASCOA and is proud to be one of the company's largest and most profitable centers. According to Robert M. DeDio, MD, FACS, president of the ASC, the center has seen three straight years of inspections with the Pennsylvania Department of Health without a single deficiency. The center contains seven ORs, which accommodate a variety of specialties, including orthopedics, ENT, pain, ophthalmology, plastic surgery, general surgery and GI. Of Ms. Hunara, Dr. DeDio says, "Jenn has worked tirelessly to set up and run our very large organization in the very difficult state of Pennsylvania. We enthusiastically recommend her."

Lara Jordan, RN, CNOR, CASC (Center for Specialized Surgery in Bethlehem, Pa.).
Ms. Jordan is currently the administrator at the Center of Specialized Surgery, a multi-specialty center with two ORs and two procedure rooms that has been in operation since Aug. 2006. The center was originally managed by ASCOA before being sold to NovaMed in Dec. 2008. In 2010, Ms. Jordan added two more specialties — plastic and gynecological surgery. She is CASC-certified as of 2008 and recently celebrated her fifth anniversary as the administrator of the Center for Specialized Surgery. Ms. Jordan has 18 years of hospital experience, starting as an OR nurse at Hahnemann University in Philadelphia and finishing her hospital career as a perioperative director at Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network in Bethlehem.

Stuart Katz (Tucson Orthopaedic Surgery Center in Arizona). Mr. Katz will celebrate his 40th anniversary in healthcare on March 21 as executive director of the Tucson Orthopaedic Surgery Center. In his current role, Mr. Katz has helped reduce cost on a per case basis for an ACL from more than $3,000 to under $1,800 by asking surgeons to use more autografts and reduce the ASC's dependence on allografts. The ASC has worked with Tucson Medical Center for more than 30 months under a co-management agreement, a deal projected to save the hospital more than $19 million by the end of 2011 on orthopedic costs. The center has been under 40 days in A/R since 2007. In addition to his work with Tucson Orthopaedic, Mr. Katz was the founding president of the Arizona Ambulatory Surgery Center Association, for which he served as president for three years and now serves as vice president. In the coming year, he hopes to continue to increase volume, reduce supply costs per case and continue the center's quarterly barbecues for its staff. "The best news is that I don't have contracts ending this year, so negotiations on these issues are not necessary to any great degree," he says. Prior to his current role, Mr. Katz worked as director of Health Inventures' Physicians Surgery Center in Daily City, Calif.

David Kelly, CASC (Samaritan North Surgery Center in Dayton, Ohio).
Mr. Kelly was employed by Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio, in various leadership roles prior to becoming administrator of Samaritan North Surgery Center in Dayton in late 2006. The ASC is a joint venture between Good Samaritan Hospital and local physicians and is managed by Health Inventures. "At the center, we continually strive for performance and quality improvement by applying data-driven solutions to quality, customer satisfaction, operational and financial goals," he says. "While I am not a clinician by degree, I prefer to throw on scrubs, engage directly in the operations, and leverage my background and data mining skills to get at the root cause of an issue." He says this persistence, along with a dedicated staff and supportive physicians, has been a "great formula for success" as the center measures itself against external and internal benchmarks.

Arthur C. Kretz (Glasgow Medical Center in Newark, Del.). Mr. Kretz has served as chief operating officer of Glasgow Medical Center, a multi-specialty ASC with four ORs and three procedure rooms, for the past 15 years. In what recently became a challenging economy, the center has performed 5,000 cases in the past year and has seen 62,000 patients in its medical aid units. Early indications suggest the numbers will continue in 2011. The surgery center has been named an APEX Award winner, ranked among the top 20 centers nationally by CTQ in terms of overall patient satisfaction, for two years in a row. Over the past 15 years, Mr. Kretz has assisted the center in building and maintaining patient volume and implementing an EHR.  Mr. Kretz guides his staff with two administrative philosophies: first, "We're here to serve our patients, the physicians and each other," and second, "This is all a game. The object is to win the game … but to have fun while we're playing."

Kris Kroeger, CASC (Windward Surgery Center in Kailua, Hawaii). Ms. Kroeger is the administrator of Windward Surgery Center, a Health Inventures facility. Windward is a multi-specialty surgery center that opened in late 2009 as a partnership between local physicians and Castle Medical Center in Kailua. Ms. Kroeger began her management career in Columbus, Ohio, as the administrator in a freestanding, joint-venture imaging center. She soon expanded her reach to ASCs and joined Health Inventures in 2005 to provide oversight to a number of ASCs in Ohio, New Jersey and Colorado. When the opportunity for a new start-up in Hawaii presented itself, Ms. Kroeger took on the challenge. She established the center, forged relationships in the Kailua healthcare community and provided patients with an alternate choice for their outpatient surgery needs. "She assures each and every day that her center is dedicated to the highest quality patient care, supreme customer service and demonstrating positive outcomes," says Mary Beth Brust, senior vice president of operations for Health Inventures.

Faith Kycia (Surgical Center of Fairfield County in Bridgeport, Conn.). Ms. Kycia has served as administrator of the Surgical Center of Fairfield County, an affiliate of Surgical Care Affiliates, since 2006. Since her promotion from business manager to head administrator, the surgical center has continued to maintain outstanding volume and attract new partners. The center now has blueprints and plans for a new state-of-the-art surgical center building. According to her colleagues, Ms. Kycia has managed to lower cost per case and maintain a dedicated, experienced staff, despite the economic challenges facing the region. On a national level, Ms. Kycia is the chairperson of the Teammate Support Network, a group that makes funds available for any teammate in the SCA group of surgical centers that has come upon hard times. She also helps to coordinate regional strategy for surgical center volume growth in the New England region for SCA. "Faith has a great sense of humor, a keen business sense and a great level of compassion," says Michael R. Redler, MD, of The OSM Center. "She is hands on and can often be seen wheeling patients out to their cars after the completion of their surgical center stay. This level of dedication has led to the soon-to-be-announced groundbreaking of a new state-of-the-art integrated surgical center … definitive proof that hard work as an outstanding administrator can lead to fabulous things."

Diane Lampron, RN (The Surgery Center at Lutheran in Wheat Ridge, Colo.). Ms. Lampron is administrator of The Surgery Center at Lutheran in Wheat Ridge, Colo. She took over the administrative role of this ASC in early 2010. Her colleagues speak highly over her leadership skills. One says, "Underlying her quiet, calm demeanor is a woman who clearly knows where she's headed and how she intends to get there." Ms. Lampron works closely with physicians, hospital leaders and employees to create a culture that affords patients affordable, high quality care. One of her strengths is the ability to assess cost per case and mentor materials management personnel to assist with expense reduction. A colleague says of her, "She works diligently with physicians in the surrounding area and has recently recruited a valued spine surgeon to add additional volume required to transition the center from one that is merely surviving to one that is thriving."

Angela Laux (Bellin Orthopedic Surgery Center in Green Bay, Wis.). Ms. Laux started as the administrator of Bellin Orthopedic Surgery Center in June 2010. The center opened in March 2010, so the last seven months have focused on hiring and training new employees, developing processes and policies, building case volume and preparing for initial AAAHC/CMS surveys. "I feel that as a new ASC, we have made great progress in the short amount of time we have been in operation," Ms. Laux says, including recently opening its third OR. "I work with great people here, which makes my job much easier." Prior to joining Bellin Orthopedic, Ms. Laux served as director of quality and outpatient joint program coordinator at The Orthopedics and Sports Institute in Appleton, Wis. In this role, she assured the institute followed all AAAHC/CMS requirements and served as staff educator for the facility. Ms. Laux graduated from Marian University with a master's degree in organizational leadership and quality in 2009.

Brad D. Lerner, MD, FACS (Summit Ambulatory Surgical Centers in Baltimore, Md.). Dr. Brad Lerner has practiced urology for over 20 years and has served as the clinical director of ASCs for 15 years. In this position for Summit Ambulatory Surgical Centers, he serves as the center's administrative leadership along with Stacy Zemencik, RN, director of nursing. According to Chesapeake Urology Associates, "Dr. Lerner is in a unique position to keep the centers on the leading edge of medical expertise and clinical care" through his dual role as practicing physician and administrator. One of the mid-Atlantic's leading urologists, Dr. Lerner was one of the first fertility specialists in Maryland and is regarded as one of the best known and most experienced urologic microsurgeons in the state. Prior to joining Summit Ambulatory Surgery Centers, Dr. Lerner served as clinical director of Urologic Surgery Associates ASCs in Baltimore for 11 years.

Neal Maerki, RN, CASC (Bend Surgery Center in Bend, Ore.). Mr. Maerki is the administrator of Bend Surgery Center, a four-OR, three-procedure room, multi-specialty surgery center. The ASC opened in 1997 and moved to its new location in Oct. 2005. BSC is 100 percent physician-owned, with 35 owners and 60 users who perform over 10,000 cases annually. Specialties include orthopedics, general surgery, spine, ENT, ophthalmology, GI, pain management, plastics, pediatric dentistry, podiatry and oral maxillofacial surgery. The success of BSC can be attributed to a dedication to communications and rigorous tracking of financial benchmarks at the center, Mr. Maerki says. "We hold weekly administrative meetings with our board chairman, medical director and the administrative team. We utilize multiple dashboards to track financial variations. We utilize a weekly financial review to track cash, receivables and deposits."

Joe Majerus (Lakewalk Surgery Center in Duluth, Minn.).
Despite the economic downturn that is proving a financial hurdle for many ASCs, Mr. Majerus is confident about the future of Lakewalk Surgery Center, where he serves as administrator. He takes patient feedback seriously and is proud to reference Lakewalk's 97 percent approval rating, a number that has not wavered over the past several years. He says the center, which features comfortable, printed chairs and a tank full of bright blue fish, is designed to help patients feel at home in an unfamiliar, often scary situation. Lakewalk Surgery Center specializes in orthopedics, plastic surgery, gastroenterology, oral surgery, ophthalmology and pain management. During his time at the center, he has trained his nursing staff to work in the center's six ORs, three procedure rooms and 18 private recovery areas. Prior to becoming administrator for Lakewalk, Mr. Majerus served as CFO for a hospital in Minnesota.

Becky Mann (Houston Orthopedic Surgery Center in Warner Robbins, Ga.).
Ms. Mann is the director of Houston Orthopedic Surgery Center. Ms. Mann came to Houston Orthopedic in May 2007 and was involved in the development of the center. Ms. Mann has been working in the medical industry for 37 years in surgery or in post-surgical care. According to Ms. Mann, one of the most important things to know as an ASC administrator is the difference between reimbursement and cost per procedure. "To know this, it is key to keep preference cards and supply costs current and to know your payors' reimbursements," she says.

Barbara Marco (Camp Lowell Surgery Center in Tucson, Ariz.). In 2000, Ms. Marco took on her first role as an ASC administrator. In 2005, she was recruited by a group of physicians to help with another new ASC: Camp Lowell Surgery Center. Although an ASC consultant was used, Lisa Rochon, business office manager, says Ms. Marco was the "main driving force" in getting the center up and running. She functioned as the second general contractor as the building went up and was able to attract outstanding staff members, research necessary equipment and negotiate with vendors to keep costs down. While the first year of opening was rocky for the center, Ms. Rochon says Ms. Marco kept the facility afloat by borrowing equipment, refinancing debt, staggering payments and asking employees to take voluntary time off, among other strategic moves. After one year, the center never looked back: Camp Lowell now averages more than 750 cases a month and has exceeded its highest volume month in Jan. 2011. "Barb continues to be a dynamo — she continues to recruit new surgeons and add surgical specialties to our roster," Ms. Rochon says. She is currently researching and exploring partnering with physician offices to provide services that they have found lacking.

Lori Martin (SUMMIT Surgery Center at Saint Mary's Galena in Reno, Nev.). Ms. Martin, administrator and director of nursing at SUMMIT Surgery Center since 2009, is responsible for the day-to-day operations of one of the newest surgery centers in Reno. She was an integral part of opening the center and is now focused on recruiting physicians, hiring quality staff and achieving financial success. During her brief tenure with the center, she has helped to double case volume and take the center from a negative cash flow position to a positive cash flow position in just five months. She has also negotiated managed care contracts and implemented new purchasing and software programs. The center achieved a successful three-day unannounced CMS survey in March 2010, and the center's first AAAHC survey will occur before the end of the year. Ms. Martin is a founding member of the Nevada Ambulatory Surgery Center Association, for which she currently serves as secretary.

Theresa Mazzitti, MHA, MBA, CASC (Eastside Surgery Center in Columbus, Ohio).
Ms. Mazzitti is the administrator of Eastside Surgery Center, a multi-specialty surgery center. The center is a joint venture between physicians and OhioHealth and is managed by Health Inventures. Ms. Mazzitti says the best aspect of her center is that surgeons and staff refuse to give up. "After 15 years, we have seen heavy competition with over 20 competing ASCs in the immediate area, and we have seen several ASCs fail because they don't think two to three years down the road," she says. "We must constantly change to be able to remain competitive and to serve the community." Part of this adaptability can be attributed to the center's culture. The staff and physicians take patient care and sound financial decision-making very seriously but still love to laugh and have fun. Ms. Mazzitti joined Eastside in Nov. 2005, but she has held positions in healthcare administration since starting her career. She served as administrative director for Consolidated Health Services in Milford, Ohio, and was practice administrator for University Orthopaedic Physicians in Columbus prior to coming to Eastside.

Joan McKibben (Somerset Surgical Center and Ambulatory Surgical Center of Somerset in Bridgewater, N.J.).
Ms. McKibben, administrator and director of nursing at Somerset Surgical Center and Ambulatory Surgical Center of Somerset, has been a nurse for 25 years. Three years ago, she became the administrator of Somerset Surgical Center and recently finished the build-out of Ambulatory Surgical Center of Somerset, a project that took significant effort from Ms. McKibben to pass New Jersey state inspections, comply with regulatory issues, install a spine surgery program and work successfully with the general contractor. The new center features a spine surgery program that offers laminectomies, anterior cervical fusions and posterior lateral interbody fusions. "This program has a physical therapy session built in prior to discharge and we coordinate with a local sub-acute [hospital] should the patient need continued physical therapy," she says. Ms. McKibben says she has always strived to keep an open-door policy with employees, as well as to treat staff fairly and "keep an eye on the bigger picture."

Amy McKiernan (Louisville Surgery Center in Kentucky).
Ms. McKiernan joined Louisville Surgery Center in Jan. 2005, three months after the center opened. She says the center has grown tremendously since her first day; in the first year, the ASC performed 814 cases and in 2010, the number had jumped to 3,431 cases. The center currently performs plastics, orthopedics, ENT and pain management in two ORs and seven pre-op/recovery bays. "One of our biggest challenges we have faced through the years is space," she says. "Our center is small, but I credit our staff to be able to turn cases over quickly and efficiently while still providing excellent patient care. I am very lucky to have the staff I have here." She says the center has also benefitted from ASD Management's bonus program. Since the implementation of the program, the staff has looked to every area of the center for cost savings. "We have definitely gotten smarter about buying supplies and equipment since the beginning," Ms. McKiernan says. "Shopping distributers and being a member of a GPO [have] provided huge savings." Ms. McKiernan's top goal for 2011 is to achieve re-accreditation from AAAHC — to hopefully be accomplished spring 2011.

Helene Medley, RN (Charleston Surgery Center in North Charleston, S.C.).
Ms. Medley is an RN who has been working in the healthcare industry for more than 23 years. She began as an OR nurse in a hospital system but transferred to Trident Surgery Center, where she quickly moved into a management position. As nurse manager, Ms. Medley gained invaluable leadership experience and learned how to work through the everyday challenges of a surgery center, while simultaneously cultivating relationships with doctors, sales representatives and patients. After over 13 years with Trident Surgery Center, she left to join Surgical Care Affiliates, stepping into the role of administrator at Charleston Surgery Center. For the past four years, Ms. Medley has overseen an 80 percent growth in case volume and has drastically expanded the partnership using her guidance and professional connections. She also serves as treasurer for the South Carolina Ambulatory Surgery Center Association.

Dave Milton (Surgicenter in Phoenix). Mr. Milton is the administrator at Surgicenter in Phoenix, the first ASC in the United States. He has served at the ASC for a little over a year and, in that time, helped the center pass the state, CMS and AAAHC credentialing and accreditation surveys. He was also credited with a zero deficiency CMS survey this year. Brenda Mastopietro, chief nursing officer for Banner Surgery Centers, says, "He is extremely well-liked by his physician partners, his healthcare system entity, Banner Health, and his staff. He brings to life teamwork by asking for help when needed and hence has been successful in bringing down cost and staff hours per case." Mr. Milton runs seven ORs and three endoscopy suites at his surgery center.

David Moody, RN (Knightsbridge Surgery Center in Columbus, Ohio). Mr. Moody has worked in the ASC business for 30 years and arrived at Knightsbridge Surgery Center three months after Regent Surgical Health took over the facility in 2004. KSC is a multi-specialty center that performs urology, general surgery, gynecology, plastics, pain, colorectal and neurosurgery procedures. Three and a half years ago, under Mr. Moody's leadership, the center entered into a partnership with the Ohio Health hospital system, which currently holds a 49 percent ownership stake in KSC. During Mr. Moody's tenure with Knightsbridge, he says the center has seen two pivotal changes: the introduction of Regent Surgical Health and the partnership with Ohio Health. He says both partnerships have resulted in tremendous benefits for the center. Regent helped turn the center around into a state of profitability and top patient care, while Ohio Health assisted in achieving a predictable cash flow and cost-savings opportunities.

Jennifer Morris (Stateline Surgery Center in Galena, Kan.). Ms. Morris serves as administrator of Stateline Surgery Center, which opened March 28, 2010, and already schedules more than 200 cases per month. The center has two ORs and performs primarily orthopedic cases. According to Carrie Ellefsen, RN, assistant director of nursing at the center, she and Ms. Morris worked together at Four States Surgery Center in Joplin, Mo., for 10 years before arriving at Stateline together. "We had less than three months to get the surgery center ready," she says. "It was an empty shell when we came, so we had to help design it, order supplies and equipment, develop policies and procedures and do everything else there is to do to meet regulations in less than three months." She calls Ms. Morris "the glue that holds everything together." During her career, Ms. Morris has served as administrator of Four States Surgery center and vice president at QWAL Laboratories. "I have known a lot of administrators in my 15 years of nursing and there is not one that comes close to comparing to this lady," Ms. Ellefsen says.

Thomas Mulhern (Limestone Surgery Center in Wilmington, Del.). Mr. Mulhern is administrator of Limestone Surgery Center, which opened in 1987 as the first ASC in Delaware. Mr. Mulhern began his career with Limestone 23 years ago. For the past four years he has served as a member of Delaware's certificate of need board. One of Mr. Mulhern's favorite aspects of his job as an administrator is the team of people he works with. "Our organization is built on the talent of our staff," he says. "They are dedicated to providing excellent care while treating each patient as if they were family. It is always a pleasure to hear from a patient that we have 'exceeded their expectations.'" Mr. Mulhern adds, "Not having a clinical background, I rely heavily on the input of our nurse manager and nurse supervisor. They do a great job and our collaborative approach to managing the ASC has worked very well."

Sue Nance, CASC (Gateway Surgery Center in Phoenix). Ms. Nance has been an ASC administrator since 1997, when she started Bend (Ore.) Surgery Center. According to Todd Currier, administrator of North Wyoming Surgical Center in Cody, she was instrumental in the growth and successful transformation of Bend Surgery Center from a two OR/one procedure room facility to a four OR/three procedure room facility. In 2007, Ms. Nance moved to Phoenix, where she continued her work as administrator at Gateway Surgery Center. "Sue is both a leader and mentor to many who have followed in her footsteps," Mr. Currier says. "She continually assists others in need and has had two former employees follow her as an administrator of an ASC."

Binh Nguyen (Newport Center Surgical in Newport Beach, Calif.).
Mr. Nguyen is the administrator of Newport Center Surgical, a multi-specialty center with two operating rooms and one procedure room located in Newport Beach, California. The center's specialties include orthopedics, GI, pain management, plastic surgery and gynecology. Mr. Nguyen joined Newport Center Surgical prior to the center's opening; he assisted with its opening in February of 2004. With the help of the center's physician owners, he expanded the center's specialty mix to include GI in 2005 and pain management in 2010. Mr. Nguyen and his team leveraged their personal relationships and the reputations of their physician owners to set up meetings with top local physicians. They then convinced the potential physician investors they would be able to provide their patients with the best possible care in the most efficient surgical atmosphere at a cost much more competitive than local hospitals. Once the surgeons used the center, they were believers — and the rest is history. In 2007, Mr. Nguyen oversaw the implementation of an electronic health record from Source Medical, and in 2010 he helped the center successfully transition to performing surgery billing in-house. According to Mr. Nguyen, "I not only have professional relationships with my staff, but also have personal friendships with them outside of work.  We go paintballing, play golf, and go to dinner together. When we are at work, we have fun and joke, but patient care always comes first."

Doug Oakley (Underwood Surgery Center in Orlando, Fla.). Mr. Oakley has spent the last 34 years in the healthcare field — 17 in an acute-care hospital setting and 17 in the ambulatory surgery center industry. He held corporate management positions for multiple ASC owners before joining Underwood Surgery Center two years ago. During his time with the center, he has helped expand the facility from one OR and one procedure room to three ORs and four procedure rooms. As a result, case volume increased by 17 percent in his first year and by an additional five percent in his second. Mr. Oakley also helped the physician owners develop a company model anesthesia provider that allows the facility more flexibility in scheduling and greater consistency with their anesthesia providers. Patient surveys consistently reflect ratings over 99.4 percent, and the center saves money on staffing by creating more efficient processes through its Source Medical EHR. The core staff at USC averages well over six years of employment.  According to Mr. Oakley, "the best thing I have done at USC (considering I am still the "rookie") is to make sure that my staff remains together."

Joe Ollayos, CASC (Tri-Cities Surgery Center in Geneva, Ill.). Mr. Ollayos has been employed in the ambulatory surgery arena since 1999 and currently serves as the administrator at Tri-Cities Surgery Center. He led the 2007 start-up of the center, which achieved a profit by its eighth month of operation. The center finished 2010 with 5,426 cases and has twice been awarded a three-year accreditation from the AAAHC. Mr. Ollayos has been active in a wide range of civic and professional activities since college, and held an adjunct faculty position in business and management at National Louis University prior to joining Tri-Cities. He has held the CASC credential since 2005 and completed his master's degree in healthcare administration.

Mike Pankey (Ambulatory Surgery Center of Spartanburg in Spartanburg, S.C.).
Mr. Pankey helped open his current center, the Ambulatory Surgery Center of Spartanburg, in 2002. In 2003, he and his team added two endoscopy suites, and over the next few years, they built volume from 5,000 cases in year one to over 10,000 cases in years six through eight. As the president of the South Carolina Ambulatory Surgery Center Association, he led a workers' compensation lawsuit against South Carolina. On his personal philosophy as an administrator, Mr. Pankey says he follows the mantra: "Do the right thing every time." If you follow that advice in every choice you make, "it will never come back to bite you," he says. As administrator of the Ambulatory Surgery Center of Spartanburg, Mr. Pankey oversees seven operating rooms and two endoscopy suites and takes responsibility for clinical and business operations. He previously worked as the administrator at Lee Island Coast Surgery Center in Fort Myers, Fla.

Anastasios Pantelidis, MD (Marietta Surgery Center in Marietta, Ohio). Dr. Pantelidis worked as an attending anesthesiologist at The Ohio State University for the latter half of 1999 before moving back to his hometown in Marietta, Ohio. In Marietta, he joined an 11-member group of anesthesiologists that covered two hospitals and the Marietta Surgery Center. In 2005, MSC partnered with Regent Surgical Health, and Dr. Pantelidis was asked to be the sole anesthesia provider for the center. After considerable thought, he accepted and became the medical director, anesthesiologist and a partner in the center. When the center's administrator left in March 2009, he was asked to take over administrative duties. "Having a desire to make the center the best it could be, I accepted the challenge," he says. "Since then, the center has partnered with the local hospital and taken on an additional surgical partner. We currently boast [lower] supply costs per case than any other Regent facility." The center has successfully completed negotiations with its top commercial payors, and its EBITDA has increased nearly five-fold since Dr. Pantelidis' arrival. "I personally believe that in order to run a successful center, you must practice what you preach, lead by example and, last but not least, treat people as you want to be treated."

Barbara Peris Draves, CASC (The Surgery Centers in Cleveland). Ms. Draves, administrator of The Surgery Centers in Cleveland, has been an ASC administrator since she was a teenager. In her 27 years on the job, she has been involved in the development and management of six related spin-off centers and has spent the past two years working with various physicians on their practice management. Through the years, her center has seen joint ventures with Medical Care International, HCA and USPI. Today the ASC is independent, and Ms. Draves is the majority owner. With 27 years of experience under her belt, it is no surprise that Ms. Draves has some advice to share: "A long time ago, a physician told me, 'DDDT: Don't Do Dumb Things' and a Medical Care International senior manager had a sign in his office that read, 'Yes we can,'" she says. "Those are the two mantras that I focus on daily." Ms. Draves is a past chairman of the Ohio Association of Ambulatory Surgery Centers.

Amber Patterson (Westside Surgery Center in Douglas, Ga.).
"I'm young, but I'm working extremely hard to become an excellent administrator," says Ms. Patterson, practice administrator of Ear Nose & Throat Clinic and Westside Surgery Center in Douglas, Ga. She came to Westside Surgery Center in Dec. 2008, when she inherited the administrator position of the freestanding, physician-owned ASC. In her first three years with the center, she has researched the best deals on ASC equipment, worked with a consultant to ensure the facility was built according to state guidelines, hired and trained new staff, completed the state survey and Joint Commission accreditation and maintained compliance with federal regulations. In constant pursuit of professional development, Ms. Patterson is currently pursuing a degree in business administration.

Linda Phillips (Southgate Surgery Center in Southgate, Mich.). Ms. Phillips has served as administrator of Southgate Surgery Center in Michigan since 1999, when she was promoted to the position from OR supervisor. During her tenure as administrator, she has expanded the ASC from an ophthalmic medical clinic with a single specialty, one-OR ASC to a multi-specialty, four-OR ASC specializing in retina, GI and pain procedures. She obtained the three additional CONs required for expansion in Michigan without the assistance of outside resources. According to Ms. Phillips, she is driven by the mission to improve patient care using the best staff and the best equipment. She adds, "When I expanded our ASC to four ORs, we moved out our medical ophthalmology clinic and renovated the entire building. I did all of the interior decorating myself, which is a passion of mine. If I had not been an RN, my next choice would have been an interior decorator!"

Linda Prister, RN, MSBA (Dearborn Surgery Center in Dearborn, Mich.). Ms. Prister has been the executive director for Dearborn Surgery Center since the center opened in 2005. Dearborn is a free-standing multi-specialty center that performs over 13,000 cases annually. Around six years ago, many of the physicians Ms. Prister worked with in a local hospital system expressed interest in opening a free-standing surgery center. The physicians asked Ms. Prister to assist with the center's start-up, and she felt the center's development would provide a great opportunity to expand her professional healthcare experience. Since the center's inception, Ms. Prister has developed a surgical safety checklist and has been invited to present at the AORN/ASC Conference in Orlando, Fla. Respected by her staff and physicians, Ms. Prister is known for her personal communication style and attention to every concern raised by her employees. Her surgery center has been named a top 20 national outpatient facility for patient satisfaction for the past two years.

Toni Rambeau (SurgCenter of Glen Burnie in Fishers, Ind.). Ms. Rambeau started at SurgCenter of Glen Burnie in Aug. 2008 as materials manager and was promoted to administrator in May 2009. During her time at the center, she has helped increase patient revenue, case volume and the amount of the providers credentialed at the center. The center achieved a three-year AAAAHC accreditation in 2010 and has since helped sister centers with questions and issues surrounding accreditation. According to Ms. Rambeau, the center consistently achieves low infection control rates, high revenue and great patient care surveys, three goals the ASC team doggedly pursues. Ms. Rambeau, who hopes to achieve her CASC certification in May 2011, says she has been "truly self-taught" to be an administrator. "I have worked side-by-side with each person involved in total care at the center," she says. "I consider each person involved in the care of patients important, and I take it personally to know each job aspect no matter what that may involve." She says she is constantly amazed by the quality care and low cost provided by ASCs and has become a "true believer" in the benefit of surgery centers.

Barbara L. Ramsey, CASC (Rush SurgiCenter in Chicago).
Ms. Ramsey has worked as the administrator of Rush SurgiCenter since 2002. During her time at the ASC, she has recruited and retained clinical staff, moving from 70 percent agency staffing to 100 percent SurgiCenter staff for the past five years. She has also initiated and implemented perpetual inventory and designed and implemented a webpage for the center. She has been able to reduce center costs by approximately five percent, even while implementing an EMR in 2006 — a significant undertaking for an ASC. She has developed various programs to improve orientation, including a program for new staff, a program for new graduate nurses to the OR and a program for residents and fellows coming to the SurgiCenter. In addition to these impressive accomplishments, Ms. Ramsey has increased patient volume by 33 percent over the last eight years and improved physician credentialing.

Anne Remm (Miracle Hills Surgery Center in Omaha, Neb.). Ms. Remm, administrator of Miracle Hills Surgery Center, has over 27 years nursing experience with 19 years of surgical management experience in the acute-care hospital and ASC settings. While at Faith Regional Health Services in Norfolk, Neb., Ms. Remm successfully helped merge two hospital systems into one as the director of surgical services. She opened the first ASC in that hospital system at an existing surgery site and then, 18 months later, opened a new 12,000-square-foot ASC. Ms. Remm has worked for Meridian Surgical Partners for the past two years and is a member of the Nebraska Association of Independent Ambulatory Centers.

Anne Roberts, RN (Surgery Center of Reno, Nev.). Ms. Roberts is the administrator at the Surgery Center at Reno, which consists of physician partners with a majority ownership, a hospital partner — Saint Mary's Hospital in Reno — and a managing partner — Regent Surgical Health. Ms. Roberts came to the Surgery Center at Reno in Feb. 2006 when it opened and became administrator in Oct. 2006. She began her career as a nurse in the emergency department, spending 16 years as a staff nurse and 10 years as the manager of a busy ED seeing 55,000 patients annually. "The experience in the ED setting has provided me with the ability to multitask, manage multiple, often competing priorities while fostering the provision of patient care, managing a complex budget, mentoring of employees and continuous assessment of the services being provided," she says. Vicki Webb, business manager at Surgery Center of Reno, calls Ms. Roberts "the best boss I have ever worked for." She says, "We [recently] had a surprise audit from the state of Nevada with only a couple of minor errors that were fixable at the time of review. I believe this shows how on top of things [Ms. Roberts] is, always striving to have our center run as if the state was coming in every day."

Darin M. Roberts, MBA (Doctors Park Surgery in Cape Girardeau, Mo.).
Mr. Roberts serves as the administrator and CEO of Doctors Park Surgery, the first surgery center in Missouri, established in 1976. During his time at the center, Mr. Roberts has restructured the company and doubled the number of partners, expanded the provided services and renegotiated insurance contracts to improve the center's profitability. He also founded and currently operates the surgery center's anesthesia group. Prior to joining Doctors Park, Mr. Roberts served as administrator of Silver Springs Surgery Center, also in Cape Girardeau. At Silver Springs, he coordinated the construction of a 7,200 square foot building expansion and oversaw compliance with Medicare, Missouri and AAAHC accreditation regulations. He came to Doctors Park to replace the previous administrator, who passed away after serving as the center's administrator for 28 years.

Kate Rock (Doylestown Surgery Center in Warrington, Pa.).
Ms. Rock has over 15 years of healthcare leadership experience, having started her career in nursing in 1988 and progressing into various leadership roles. She currently serves as administrator of Doylestown Surgery Center in Warrington, a town 30 minutes north of Philadelphia. The multi-specialty center, which opened in May 2001, sees an annual case volume of 4,500 cases and received its three-year AAAHC accreditation in Nov. 2010. For many years, the center struggled with financial and administrative problems, lacking the proper leadership to negotiate effectively and maximize profits through the revenue cycle. Ms. Rock was hired in Feb. 2010, and within 10 months, the center had showed a positive bottom line and reduced expenses by over $400,000 from the previous year. Ms. Rock and her team realized these significant changes by reviewing and reevaluating staffing, reviewing and renegotiating every vendor contract, hiring a full-time materials manager, adding four new surgeons in 2010 and starting reprocessing of single-use instruments. "The relationship between the physicians and the rest of the staff is extraordinary, as everyone is treated with respect and dignity," she says. "Attention to quality, safety and compassion is part of our culture. Our new goal for 2011 and beyond is to create and maintain a 'culture of excellence.'"

Mary Ryan, RN, CASC (Tri State Surgery Center in Dubuque, Iowa). Ms. Ryan is the administrator of Tri State Surgery Center, a multi-specialty facility in eastern Iowa with three ORs and two procedure rooms. Tri State performs over 5,000 cases annually. The specialties at the facility include ENT, gastroenterology, general surgery, gynecology, ophthalmology, orthopedics, pain management, plastic surgery, podiatry and urology. The evolution of the center began with its building and opening in 1998 by Medical Associates Clinics and Health Plans and Mercy Hospital. The center is managed by Health Inventures. Ms. Ryan is known by her staff for advocating continuous improvement, whereby she relentlessly strives to improve the centers performance in every area: clinical, financial and operationally. In addition, she often volunteers to help her management company, Health Inventures, with projects outside of her center. Ms. Ryan is a past AORN chapter president, a founding member of the Iowa ASC Association and is currently serving her second term as its president.

Kris Sabo, RN (Pend Oreille Surgery Center in Ponderay, Idaho). Ms. Sabo has been involved with Pend Oreille Surgery Center since 2007, when the center was still an unrealized dream. After meeting Mike DiBendetto, MD, Ms. Sabo helped research the possibilities of building an ASC and recruited other like-minded providers. Her early involvement with Pend Oreille involved research and feasibility, physician recruiting, architect selection, contractor and consultant work, construction project coordination, supply purchasing and staff recruiting. She currently holds the position of executive director of the center, in which she oversees 14 co-workers and 11 providers of various specialties. "Kris is being nominated for her tireless efforts and unwavering determination to establish, expand and continuously improve the operations of POSC," says Lucas Anderson, operations manager at Pend Oreille. "Kris lives and breathes POSC, and her efforts often times go unnoticed because her dedication has morphed into an expectation of POSC." He says without her efforts, Pend Oreille could still be just a dream.

Marcy Sasso (Raritan Valley Surgical Center in Somerset, N.J.). Ms. Sasso serves as administrator of Raritan Valley Surgical Center, which is managed by ASCOA. Although she has been with the center less than one year, she has made a significant impact: Employees cite her open-door policy, commitment to staff satisfaction and policy of encouraging ideas from all ASC personnel. "To know her is to truly love her," says Chrissy Orescovich, recovery room nurse at the ASC. "As far as our facility goes, she is a team player and an advocate for the staff as well as the patients." Ms. Sasso is also the co-founder of the Surgery Center Coalition, which was founded nearly six years ago and is now one of the largest free networking groups in the state of New Jersey. In addition to her work with ASCs, Ms. Sasso has hosted numerous charitable events to benefit those devastated by Hurricane Katrina and the Haiti earthquake, for which she raised over $3 million in medical supplies.

Tona Savoie (Bayou Region Surgery Center in Thibodaux, La.).
Ms. Savoie is administrative director of Bayou Region Surgical Center, a multi-specialty surgery center that opened in July 2007. On her time as an ASC administrator, Ms. Savoie says, "Since taking the administrative director's position, I have learned profound amounts of information in managed care, business office processes and … the abundant changes in CMS. After only three years in this position, I am now educating new administrators on efficient processes and motivation of staff and physicians." Bayou Region Surgical Center has four ORs and one procedure room. Surgeons at Bayou Region specialize in orthopedics, ENT, neurology, general surgery, plastic surgery, GI, ophthalmology and pain management. The ASC operates as a 50-50 partnership between physician-investors and a subsidiary of the local community hospital, Thibodaux Regional Medical Center. It is managed by ASD Management.

David Schlactus (Willamette Surgery Center in Salem, Ore.).
As CEO of Willamette Surgery Center, Mr. Schlactus has been successful in renegotiating payor contracts to maintain profitability even through the economic downturn. He has also educated numerous legislators on the benefit of ASCs by providing tours of his facility and has spearheaded the efforts of the Oregon ASC Association in Salem. "He is available for other administrators for guidance," says Nancy Franssen, director of Corvallis Clinic Surgery Center. "He is a leader whom I feel should be recognized."

Tara Sellers, RN, BSN (Surgery Center of Key West, Fla.). Tara Sellers, administrator of Surgery Center of Key West, assisted in starting her facility in July 2008. Prior to her position with the surgery center, Ms. Sellers served as the OR charge nurse at a local hospital and also owned and managed a physician billing company. While in nursing school, she was voted "Most Likely to Become an Administrator" and received an "Excellence in Nursing" award from the local hospital in 2007. "[Tara] works in all areas of the center to assure excellent patient outcomes," says Suzanne Wienbarg, RN, CASC, senior vice president of operations for ASCOA, which manages the ASC. "She is well-respected by her staff and physicians." She points out that aside from the center's excellent patient satisfaction and outcomes, Surgery Center of Key West is also financially successful and received a three-year certification from AAAHC in 2009.

Joan Shearer, CASC (Lawrence Surgery Center in Lawrence, Kan.).
Ms. Shearer, administrator of Lawrence Surgery Center (managed by Health Inventures), has worked in the healthcare industry for over 15 years and has been with her center for over 10 years. According to Corbett Jackson, director of business development and operations for Sutter Surgery Center Division, Ms. Shearer is an expert at relating to physicians and building relationships with hospital partners. Mr. Jackson, who has benefitted from Ms. Shearer's mentoring skills, says, "[She] is an excellent listener and the perfect coach. She helped me stretch my capacity to learn and develop new skills that helped me to learn the most important aspects o the surgery center industry." He says Ms. Shearer is essential in making sure the center runs profitably and provides efficient, quality care. She currently serves as president of the Kansas Ambulatory Surgery Association.

Aaron Shechter (Hackensack Endoscopy Center in Hackensack, N.J. and Endoscopy Center of Bergen County in Parmaus, N.J.).
Mr. Shechter is the administrator of two endoscopy centers licensed by the state of New Jersey and Medicare. The two centers, which specialize in gastroenterology and colorectal surgery, performed over 13,000 procedures combined last year. Mr. Shechter has served as administrator of HEC and ECBC since April 2008. Staff members are an important part of the facilities' success, according to Mr. Shechter. "I appreciate their energy and desire to improve every day," he says, adding that he encourages staff members to bring their own unique personalities and ideas to work every day. As a result, the centers he manages have great physician and staff retention. "The key is treating everyone with respect and making patients feel like they are your own family members. It makes staff, physicians, and patients want to come to the center and work together as a team," he says. "We get a large number of complimentary patient survey cards, which we post for all to see. It's very satisfying to have patients want to come to your center for surgery.""   

Ruth Shumaker (Physicians Plaza Surgery Center in Santa Fe, N.M.). Ms. Shumaker, administrator of Physicians Plaza Surgery Center, is responsible for the operation of an ASC that performs 5,600 cases monthly across four ORs and three pain procedure suites. Prior to joining PPSC, she served as interim perioperative director of Avera-McKennan Hospital and University Center in Sioux Falls, S.D., where she assisted in construction, hiring and opening of a new ASC. She led a successful 2011 AAAHC accreditation at PPSC and was the 2010 AORN recipient of the Award for Excellence in Perioperative Nursing. She was the first industry nurse to be elected president of AORN and possesses intimate knowledge of both ASC and hospital operations, sterile processing, strategic assessment and relationships with physicians, nurses and boards of directors.

Reed Simmons (Treasure Coast Center for Surgery in Stuart, Fla.).
Mr. Simmons holds 15 years of experience in the ASC industry, managing the business office functions for several surgical facilities in the Florida area. He currently serves as the acting administrator at Treasure Coast Center for Surgery, a multi-specialty ASC located in Stuart, Fla. His background includes handling revenue cycle management, managing a staff of business office personnel, accounts receivable and credentialing, and performing human resources functions. Prior to Treasure Coast, Reed served as business office manager at Palms West Surgicenter in Royal Palm Beach, Fla., and as a reimbursement specialist at Physicians Practice Solutions in Jacksonville, Fla.

Laurie Simon (Western Reserve Surgery Center in Kent, Ohio).
Ms. Simon, administrator of Western Reserve Surgery Center, started her career on the physician side of practice management and ancillary services management. In 1994, she took a position with a physician group that planned to open an ASC — the model for which she says has gone through many changes, from physician ownership to management company/physician ownership with two different national companies. In Feb. 2005, Ms. Simon completed the AORN ASC Administrator Certificate Program to prepare for a return to physician ownership. "These changes have provided me with countless opportunities for personal growth," she says. "Membership and committee activity in our Ohio Association has kept me current managing this multi-specialty center."

Carol S. Slagle, CASC (Specialty Surgery Center of CNY in Liverpool, N.Y.). Ms. Slagle has been the administrator of Specialty Surgery Center of CNY, which is managed by ASCOA, since its inception in 1999. She says the experience of setting up Specialty Surgery Center was incredible. "It was an honor and privilege to have the opportunity to be hired and oversee the build-out and initial set-up of all operations of our surgery center," she says. While the surgery center started out with five physicians and 11 employees with a specialization in ophthalmology, the ASC has since become a multi-specialty center and currently has 19 surgeons and 52 employees. "We underwent a major expansion and total renovation of the ASC in 2009 and successfully orchestrated this project while open for business," Ms. Slagle says. Ms. Slagle was in the first group to take the CASC credential test and was awarded the CASC credential shortly thereafter. Prior to accepting her administrator position, she worked in the medical sales field, enjoying success in selling implants and capital equipment to hospitals and ASCs. As a result of this experience, Ms. Slagle prides herself on her ability to negotiate successfully with ASC vendors.

Brooke Smith (Maryland Surgery Center for Women in Rockville, Md.).
In her two years with Maryland Surgery Center for Women, Ms. Smith has successfully taken a struggling ASC and turned it into a safe, profitable, professional facility. She has worked diligently to increase collections from an average of $70K per month to an average of $240K per month, all while decreasing the center's days in A/R significantly to an average of 25 days. The center currently rests at the top of national benchmarks, with staffing hours of six per case and supply costs of less than $200 per case. She also led a pilot program for online pre-surgical admission, trialing the program for presentation to the center's management company, ASCOA, for consideration among 30 other ASCs. Her cost savings in 2010 alone — when she focused mainly on vendor and service contracts — added up to $110,000. According to Stacey Taylor, senior vice president of ASCOA, Ms. Smith's ability to involve staff in cost savings is remarkable: Under her tutelage, each staff member presents interesting ideas to save money and takes pride in the success of the center. "The reputation of the center continues to be better, through the satisfaction of both surgeons and patients, and is known to be one of the premier single-specialty women's care facilities in the DC Metro area," Ms. Taylor says. Ms. Smith plans to take the CASC exam in 2011.

Donna Smith, CASC (The Surgery Center in Oxford, Ala.).
As administrator of The Surgery Center, Ms. Smith oversees daily operations for a surgery center with four ORs, two procedure rooms and approximately 9,400 patient visits annually. She also supervises 65 employees — a task that could be daunting to someone without Ms. Smith's natural leadership skills. For the past 10 years, Ms. Smith has served as administrator of The Surgery Center, and for the past two she has provided consultative services for ASCs, family practice and occupational medicine practices through her consulting company, DHS Healthcare Consulting. In the last two decades of her career, she has run daily operations for physician practices, supervised employees in a laboratory, served for five years as the president of the Alabama Association of Ambulatory Surgery Centers and served for one year as the president of MGMA.

Laura Smith (Tampa Bay Specialty Surgery Center in Pinellas Park, Fla.). Ms. Smith has been employed with Tampa Bay Specialty Surgery Center since 2004, when she joined the center as a pre-op registered nurse. In 2005, she was promoted to nurse manager, and in 2006, to clinical director — a position that prompted her to receive her State of Florida Risk Management License. In 2008, she was promoted to administrator and helped the center earn a three-year accreditation. Although she is fully involved in the financial and management aspects of running the ASC, she is still involved in daily operations of the center, including patient care. In 2010, she received the Leadership Award at her management company National Surgical Care's annual meeting, where the company praised her for cutting costs in rent, utilities, staffing, supplies and contracts. Tampa Bay Specialty Surgery Center also won the Center of the Year Award at NSC's annual meeting.

Steve Smith, RN, CASC (Surgery Center of Wisconsin Rapids in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.).
Mr. Smith, director of the Surgery Center of Wisconsin Rapids, was hired as the circulating nurse when the ASC opened its doors in 2006. When he joined Surgery Center of Wisconsin Rapids (managed by ASD Management), he was tasked with organizing and preparing the center for orthopedic and pain procedures, a responsibility that involved preparing chart forms, meeting with vendors and preparing equipment for use. In April 2007, the center's physicians approached Mr. Smith with the offer to be the administrative director of the ASC. In Sept. 2007, the center achieved a three-year accreditation from AAAHC, and the ASC is currently working on adding an ophthalmology service line. "My philosophy as an administrator is to listen to the staff's ideas and thoughts to what will work in our facility," Mr. Smith says. "I like to have a close relationship with the physicians that do procedures at our facility to better understand their needs. By involving staff and physicians together in decision-making, we are able to offer safe, efficient and cost-effective surgery to our patients." Prior to joining the center, he had spent 25 years as a staff nurse in a variety of areas — including the ICU, ER, cardiac rehabilitation and OR — at the local community hospital.

Jeanette Stack (St. Cloud Surgical Center in St. Cloud, Minn.).
Ms. Stack began her career as the business office manager in 1972 at the second ASC in the nation, a position that was followed by her appointment to administrator in 1998. She currently leads 160 staff members in an 11-OR ASC. When she accepted her current role as administrator, the average caseload for the previous 10 years was 3,000 cases annually. Ms. Stack immediately began growing caseload, and within five years, she had doubled the center's case volume. By 10 years, she had tripled it. During her tenure with the center, the caseload has increased in complexity as well as volume. Quicker cases such as cataracts and pain procedures have been replaced by hysterectomies and complex shoulders. According to colleague Becky Cannon, the center's success is due to Ms. Stack's keen management skills and compassion. "Jeanette is the servant leader," Ms. Cannon says. "She stays out of the limelight but is one who people follow." In an environment that can be busy and fast-paced, Ms. Stack takes the time to greet visitors, give tours of the center and make every patient comfortable. "To the staff, she extends her hospitality in many ways by providing lunches, acknowledging and celebrating everyone's birthday and creating an environment to celebrate our successes," Ms. Cannon says. Ms. Stack currently serves on the Minnesota Ambulatory Surgery Center Association board.

Carol Stadnyk (Doctors Outpatient Surgery Center in Naples, Fla.). Ms. Stadnyk helped start Doctors Outpatient Surgery Center in 2005. Prior to the opening of the center, she had worked as a nurse in various types of facilities, including hospitals and ASCs, but had never served as a surgery center administrator. "Working here has given her the knowledge and ability to manage like no other," says Celida Trujillo, the center's business office manager. "She is an excellent nurse, an incredible individual, and the patients as well as the staff and owners can't say but great things about her." Since joining the center as administrator, Ms. Stadnyk has achieved certification as a risk manager.

Jim Stafford (Laser Spine Institute in Wayne, Pa.).
As administrator of Laser Spine Institute, Jim Stafford oversees the daily operations of the Laser Spine Institute Tampa ASC and collaborates with other department leaders to align strategic goals and optimize patient flow. He also works closely with LSI's medical staff, surgeons, anesthesia team, physician extenders and nursing staff to share best practices throughout the organization. He joined LSI in 2005 as one of the organization's original founding members and has since participated in thousands of minimally invasive spinal surgeries as the Institute's lead certified surgical tech and director of OR — two roles he held before becoming administrator. According to Kelly Cunha, manager of marketing communications, Mr. Stafford was instrumental in LSI's expansion efforts by providing "sterile corridor" know-how to start-up teams. "Jim's dedication to the success of the LSI, staff and the ASC daily operation is obvious and respected by his teammates," she says.

William Stangl (Mount Nittany Surgical Center in State College, Pa.).
Mr. Stangl has served as administrator of Mount Nittany Surgical Center since 2010. Prior to his current position, he served as administrator of Northern Wyoming Surgical Center in Cody, Pa., for six years. Even in the limited time he has spent at his new workplace, Mr. Stangl has accumulated an impressive list of accomplishments: developing and implementing a pay scale that helps alleviate pay variances, implementing a new fee schedule to eliminate inaccuracies in current charges and increasing gross revenue by 20 percent and starting a "service recovery" program to increase patient satisfaction. During his 25 years in healthcare, Mr. Stangl has helped with the development of two all-volunteer medical clinics that serve the indigent, revised third-party payor contracts for other centers and changed group purchasing organizations to improve the bottom line of one facility. "[I] always look for ways to improve — renegotiating payor contracts [and] purchasing contracts, revising charge masters, ensuring employee benefits are as good as or better than the competitors [and] taking care of patients and physicians," he says. "I believe that an administrator should believe in the mission and vision of the center or develop the mission and vision that is necessary."

Jim Stilley, CASC (Northwest Michigan Surgery Center in Traverse City, Mich.).
Mr. Stilley is the current CEO and administrator of Northwest Michigan Surgery Center, a position he has held for 5.5 years. According to Kurt A. Sanford, MD, board chair of NMSC, Mr. Stilley has led his center to the top 1-2 percent nationally in all statistics, including quality of care, infection rates and patient satisfaction. "Jim has dealt with the issues of multiple partners and sometimes competing interests quite well and has excellent rapport with physician investors and our medical center executives," Dr. Sanford says. "He routinely is rated with excellent marks in his regard." In addition to his work with NMSC, Mr. Stilley has lobbied for Medicaid reimbursement at the state level and served for two years as president of the Michigan Ambulatory Surgical Association. With more than 20 years experience in hospital and health plan management, Mr. Stilley has served as vice president of healthcare operations at the Naval Hospital in Great Lakes, Ill., and has held positions with the Naval Hospital in Newport, R.I., and the American Hospital Association.

Maggie Summerfelt (Advanced Surgery Center in Omaha, Neb.). Ms. Summerfelt serves as administrator of Advanced Surgery Center, a physician-owned facility with two ORs, two procedure rooms and specialties that include orthopedics, podiatry and pain management. Ms. Summerfelt was hired in Oct. 2005 to manage construction of the ASC, hire staff and obtain initial state licensure and Medicare certification. The center opened in 2006, and bought out its original management company, SurgCenter Development, in Oct. 2008. The ASC has 11 physician-owners performing 2,000 procedures annually. She has now been a surgery center administrator for the last 10 years. With the many issues facing healthcare today, Ms. Summerfelt knows that outpatient services have exceeded many other areas in efficiency, cost-effectiveness and patient satisfaction. "It is rewarding to know that we provide the community with a choice when it comes to surgery," she says. "Our patients always comment on the ease of admission, the friendliness of the staff, the caring attitude of the nurses and physicians and the overall positive experience." Prior to joining Advanced Surgery Center, Ms. Summerfelt worked as a regional manager for the National Easter Seal Society and as an administrator of HealthSouth in Chicago and Reno, Nev.  

Elaine Thomas, RN (St. Francis Mooresville Surgery Center in Mooresville, Ind.).
Ms. Thomas began her position as administrator manager in the St. Francis Mooresville Surgery Center in June 2006, and was promoted to director in 2007. The primary scope of her practice has focused on the pre- and post-operative arenas, circulating in the surgical suite and quality management in another major hospital in the Indianapolis area. She is a member of AORN and the Indiana Federation of Ambulatory Surgery Centers. Additionally, she has taught online courses at a local college for Healthcare Administration for Associate level students. She has been a nurse since 1982, and, since that time, has acquired her associate degree in 1996, her BSN in 2003 and most recently completed her MBA in healthcare in July 2006.

Shirley Thomas, RN (Surgery Center of Mount Dora in Mount Dora, Fla.). Ms. Thomas is the administrator of the Surgery Center of Mount Dora, a newly constructed multi-specialty surgery center of Regent Surgical Health. Ms. Thomas arrived at SCMD from another Regent facility in Ohio during the center's construction stage and was responsible for the setup of the center, the hiring of personnel and the survey process. The center's first year of business has been "a model of success," she says. "Our goal has always been to be clinically efficient and profitable at the same time," she says. "The center was completed on time and on budget, [and] within 30 days of receiving the certificate of occupancy, the facility was licensed and performing surgery." Within six months of operation, the center made its first distribution to the shareholders. Ms. Thomas says, "I am very proud of the work that has been accomplished at SCMD. When I moved to this area, I was dedicated to working hard to see this center be a success. I believe we have set the bar high for other centers when they open." She has spent a large portion of her career working as a private scrub and an office nurse. She entered the management world as a clinical manager for a large orthopedic group in Ohio and then moved into the management role in their surgery center.

Gary Throgmorton (The Orthopedic Surgery Center of Arizona in Phoenix).
Mr. Throgmorton serves as administrator of The Orthopedic Surgery Center of Arizona, a physician-owned ASC specializing in orthopedics. The AAAHC-accredited surgery center was developed by 15 orthopedic surgeons and Cornerstone Surgical Partners. According to Wanda Givens, director of nursing for the center, Mr. Throgmorton has "all the essential qualities" of a top ASC administrator. "He is insightful, proactive [and] everyone knows he is willing to listen to anyone's point of view, always lend a hand and more," she says. "When staffing is tight, he's willing to take patients out to [their] car for their ride home, and has on more than one occasion helped with turning the OR over between cases. He does swing a mean mop!" She says despite the day-to-day challenges that occur in the busy ASC, Mr. Throgmorton keeps the staff laughing. He has been with The Orthopedic Surgery Center of Arizona since it opened in 2006 and has since helped the center maintain a 98 percent patient satisfaction rating.

Meg Tomlinson (Baylor Surgicare at Carrollton in Carrollton, Texas).
Ms. Tomlinson has served as administrator of Metrocrest Surgery Center (currently doing business as Baylor Surgicare at Carrollton) since Sept. 2002. The center merged with USPI effective July 1, 2010, and has been working through a transition period since — changing software systems and forms, learning new processes and becoming used to the merger. The center has passed three AAAHC surveys, the last one in May 2010. "My personal philosophy is to hire the right staff," Ms. Tomlinson says. "This makes my job much easier if you have dependable, professional staff who are always looking out for the patient and their families." She says she lets staff members know their families are important, and she tries to work with them on last-minute issues. "Very rarely do I turn a request down, even if I have to get other staff," she says. The center's patient satisfaction surveys return a 98 percent rating of "very good".

Kimberly L. Tude Thuot (Yakima Ambulatory Surgical Center in Yakima, Wash.).
Ms. Tude Thuot has been in healthcare administration since 1997 and joined the physician-owned Yakima Ambulatory Surgical Center in Aug. 2009. She holds a master's degree in organizational management and is currently working on her PhD in organizational change and leadership. She is also currently board-certified in the ACMPE and is actively pursuing fellowship, as well as her CASC and CPC. Since she joined Yakima ASC, the center has been through a re-accreditation survey with AAAHC, moved billing back in-house and is in the process of adding neurosurgery and spine to the multi-specialty facility.

Susan Vitort, BSN, CNOR (Physicians Surgery Center of Tempe in Tempe, Ariz.). Ms. Vitort is the administrator of Physicians Surgery Center of Tempe, a two-OR, one-procedure room, multi-specialty surgery center that opened in Sept. 1999. Physicians Surgery Center performs around 4,000 cases a year and is 90 percent physician-owned and 10 percent owned by USPI. According to Ms. Vitort, she believes in collaborating with her team of physicians and staff to set goals and measure results. She also feels fortunate to have a team that feels like a family, who care for each other and are motivated professionals who still have fun at work. During a recent AAAHC survey at the center, a surveyor described the team as having "joy all around." Ms. Vitort came to Physicians Surgery Center in 2002 from Banner Desert Samaritan, where she served as director of surgical services. In 1995, she had the opportunity to manage the design, construction, licensing and start-up of a cardiovascular surgery center that included three ORs and performed 800 open-heart procedures a year.

Kara Vittetoe, CASC (Thomas Johnson Surgery Center in Frederick, Md.).
Ms. Vittetoe is the administrator of a one-OR, two-procedure room, multi-specialty surgery in a growing rural area. Thomas Johnson Surgery Center in Frederick, Md., which is managed by ASCOA, features surgeons specializing in general surgery, gynecology, neuro-spine, podiatry and urology. Ms. Vittetoe has been with the center since it opened in 2008. Prior to joining Thomas Johnson, she spent the majority of her career in the private sector of healthcare management. Concerning the transition from management to ambulatory surgery, she says, "The learning curve was huge, but the basis of the care and business was the same. What made the transition so palatable was the support from our corporate partner (ASCOA) and the brilliant vice president I was working directly under." Life isn't always easy for the rural ASC: The small Frederick community is competitive, and the center is limited to recruiting in the one-hospital town. To meet this challenge, she says, "Our partners are active in their commitment to quality and safety and are great proponents for our patients and the community. It is what makes and keeps us harmonious."

Chuck Walters (Suffolk Surgery Center in Shirley, N.Y.). Mr. Walters has served as the administrator of Suffolk Surgery Center since Nov. 2003, bringing his 25 years of healthcare experience as a registered nurse, paramedic and hospital administrator to the outpatient arena. "My experiences at Suffolk Surgery Center have been very rewarding, as I have seen the center grow both in terms of case volume and revenue," he says. In Mr. Walters' first year at the center, SSC performed a little over 1,400 cases annually. The center closed out 2010 with over 6,000 cases performed annually and a dramatic increase in profitability since 2003. "We have been successful in adding new physicians and specialties to the center, and we are all very proud of the center in terms of the quality of care that is provided to the patients," he says. "The position is very challenging and rewarding in that something new presents itself almost every day."

Warren Whisenhunt (First Surgery Suites in Sulphur Springs, Texas). Mr. Whisenhunt came to his job at First Surgery Suites through what he calls "the aligning of the stars." He originally worked as the manager and owner of a 4,500-acre farm, a role that demanded hard work in repairing equipment, marketing crops, troubleshooting electrical panels and living on a shoestring budget. When he decided to transition to a medical career by going back to school to train as a CRNA, he worked as a farm and auto parts merchant to provide income for his family. By the end of 1996, he had accomplished his scholastic goal: a master's degree in nurse anesthesia and a successfully completed certification exam. In March 2010, after seven years working as an independent CRNA, he was given the chance to put his business pragmatism to work as the administrator of First Surgery Suites. "The challenges of an ASC are multifaceted," he says. "Spending, however, is probably the biggest danger. The vendors in the ASC industry are often shortsighted and will push products and services in excess of what a growing and struggling new ASC can survive." While he has never been specifically trained in business or as an administrator, Mr. Walters believe he has a unique set of skills that only comes from such a varied background.

Lexa L. Woodyard (Cabell Huntington Surgery Center at Huntington, W.V.) During her four years as administrator of Cabell Huntington Surgery Center, Ms. Woodyard has racked up an impressive list of accomplishments. Along with her staff and surgeons, she has decreased expenses by $200,000 for a calendar year, increased net revenue per case by introducing cases with better payor mixes, increased over-the-counter patient collections and formulated a plan to decrease days in A/R. "Many ASCs have made the hard decision to close their doors as decreasing reimbursement rates and increasing costs have eaten away their bottom line and financial stability," she says. "Every day is a struggle for ASCs in today's economy; cooperative staff and surgeons can make or break an ASC." She says her center is blessed with staff and surgeons who are willing to make an effort to cut costs, increase revenue and improve patient satisfaction. "The staff are my skilled experts and I trust their input and knowledge," she says. "You don't have to be a nurse to run a surgery center, but you do have to have excellent, highly professional and proactive nurses on staff to help push the center forward."

Cindy Young, RN, CASC (Surgery Center of Farmington in Michigan). Ms. Young has successfully managed her ASC, the Surgery Center of Farmington, for the past 12 years. For the past eight years, the center has shown profits quarter-over-quarter consistently, and Ms. Young has maintained tight staff hours per patient while producing high patient, staff and physician satisfaction scores. She helped the ASC achieve a three-year accreditation from AAAHC in 2002, 2005 and 2008 and currently manages 28 employees, 16 credentialed physicians, two ORs and two procedure rooms. Prior to joining the Surgery Center of Farmington, Ms. Young served as a staff nurse at Arcadia Valley Hospital in Pilot Knob, Mo., where she was responsible for emergency transfers, supervising the night shift and maintaining central supply and central sterilization.

Parth A. Zaveri, MHA, MBA (The Endoscopy Center of St. Louis in St. Louis, Mo.). Mr. Zaveri is the administrator of The Endoscopy Center of St. Louis, located in St. Louis and St. Charles, Mo. The two Endoscopy Center locations are independently-owned, single-specialty and have six procedure rooms between them. The centers and their 11-physician owners together perform an estimated 8,000 cases annually. Mr. Zaveri joined the Endoscopy Centers of St. Louis in 2007 as the practice administrator. During his time as administrator of the Endoscopy Center of St. Louis, Mr. Zaveri's team has been able to undertake several successful initiatives. The ASC has a capsule endoscopy program that was started last year, as well as a new in-house pathology department for patients. "I have also worked aggressively with the centers' commercial payers to renegotiate rates and improve reimbursement," Mr. Zaveri says. "We have also recently passed AAAHC and Medicare inspections at both centers with the help of staff and management." Prior to coming to the Endoscopy Center of St. Louis, he worked with a large multi-specialty physician practice in St. Louis as a business analyst. He has also worked for several large hospital systems in the St. Louis and Columbia, MO region.

Stacy Zemencik, RN (Summit Ambulatory Surgical Centers in Baltimore). Ms. Zemencick serves alongside Brad Lerner, MD, as the administrative team for Summit Ambulatory Surgical Centers. In her role as director of nursing, Ms. Zemencik works in close, day-to-day partnership with Dr. Lerner and is responsible for long-term strategic planning, implementation, development and evaluation of ambulatory surgical services. She has served as DON for the center for the past three years, prior to which she held several medical surgical nursing positions over a period of 10 years. According to Chesapeake Urology Associates, "Her prior career experiences provided the skills, knowledge and expertise that have shaped her strong leadership and administration skills needed to successfully co-lead the Summit program."

Monica M. Ziegler, MSN, CASC (Physicians Surgical Center in Lebanon, Pa.). Ms. Ziegler is the administrator for the Physicians Surgical Center in Lebanon, Pa., a position she's held since April 2005, opening the center doors in Aug. 2005. Physicians Surgical Center — a multi-specialty center with three ORs and one procedure room — surpassed all established benchmarks and continues to lead in operating incomes, cost containment, staff utilization and profitability after 1.5 years of operation. Ms. Ziegler's administrative approach is to focus on "efficacy and efficiency" — doing the right things in a timely and cost effective manner and serving as a leader organizational change. She has adopted the mantra to "face all challenges" and stay tenacious in process improvement. "Embracing the right values and having a committed team has allowed [the center] to be extremely successful, even in the trying economic times, in patient and financial outcomes," she says.

Becky Ziegler-Otis (Ambulatory Surgical Center of Stevens Point in Stevens Point, Wis.). Ms. Ziegler-Otis has served in her current role as administrator of the Ambulatory Surgical Center of Stevens Point since Jan. 2008. In this position, Ms. Ziegler-Otis has worked diligently to keep days in A/R at benchmark levels. When she took over as administrator, the center was at almost 100 days in A/R. Through her continued efforts and her work with an outsourced vendor, the center has stayed at 39-40 days in A/R for the past year. She also takes pride in the center's minimal employee turnover — since opening in 2006, ASC of Stevens Point has only seen one employee depart. Ms. Ziegler-Otis' goals for 2011 include becoming more involved in the state ASC association. Prior to joining Stevens Point, she worked on implementing an electronic medical record at Klasinski Clinic and oversaw facility-wide compliance at Bay Area Medical Center in Marinette, Wis.

Please contact Rachel Fields at rachel@beckersasc.com with any questions.

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